Pirates’ Jung Ho Kang has U.S. visa secured through 2019 |

Pirates’ Jung Ho Kang has U.S. visa secured through 2019

Chris Adamski
Chris Adamski | Tribune-Review
The Pirates' Jung Ho Kang talks Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, at PiratesFest at PNC Park.

After spending much of the past two years wondering whether their erstwhile third baseman could make his way into the United States legally, Pittsburgh Pirates fans can rest easy in 2019.

Jung Ho Kang has a visa to remain in the country for the entirety of the 2019 season.

“Yeah, we are good for one year,” interpreter Jeffrey Kim said when Kang was asked about his visa status during an interview session with media Saturday at PNC Park during PiratesFest. “So this year will be fine… and if there’s no problems in the future (it will be fine for future years).”

Kang hit 36 home runs in 837 at bats for the Pirates from 2015-16 after coming over from his native South Korea. But getting arrested for DUI multiple times in South Korea put his U.S. visa in limbo, and Kang never made it to North America in time to play for the Pirates in 2017.

He eventually earned the U.S. visa in time for 2018 but after missing a full season of professional baseball – coupled with a wrist injury during a rehabilitation stint in the minors – he played in only three MLB games last season.

The Pirates declined a $5.5 million contract option for 2019 but quickly re-signed Kang for a deal that could be worth that much if he performed well but only had $3 million in guaranteed money.

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Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at [email protected] or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.