According to a report from South Korea's KBS, Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang has been denied a visa for reentry into the United States, thus putting his status with the club for the 2017 season in jeopardy.
Kang's visa issues come after his arrest in December for drunk driving in South Korea. He pleaded guilty to the DUI, his third in South Korea since 2009, and received a suspended eight-month prison sentence earlier this month, which he is appealing.
The Pirates organization has yet to respond to the latest reports. Kang has missed all of spring training so far while he remained in South Korea for his trial and sentencing.
"We're to a point in time where it's unrealistic to think Jung Ho's going to be ready for opening day," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said Thursday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "We remain optimistic we're going to get him here hopefully sooner than later. Now the challenge is if we don't, if it takes some time, we've built this club and feel good about the guys we have here."
Kang was Pittsburgh's starting third baseman last year, with a .273 batting average and 36 home runs since 2015.