Jung Ho Kang the third baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates, who was arrested in early December by Seoul police for driving under the influence, will likely lose his roster spot on the South Korea team that will represent the country in the World Baseball Classic.
The manager for South Korea Kim In-sik told a news agency in Korea Monday that he was likely to cut the Pirates third baseman after an increase of negative public opinion toward the player ratcheted up when word became known that this was the third time since 2009 that Kang has been stopped for DUI.
Kim told the news agency that Kang is an excellent player but he started to wonder it the trouble in taking him to play in the WBC was worth it. Personally, he added that he was leaning more toward taking Kang’s name from the roster.
Rosters for this spring’s tournament are due in January for the tournament that will be played in a number of cities from March 6 to March 22.
Kang in his two seasons on the Pittsburgh roster has a batting average of .273 and 36 homers.
Last summer, Chicago police interviewed Kang as a person of interest related to an investigation of sexual assault, but no charges were ever filed.
Kang was arrested in Korea for leaving the scene of an accident where DUI was involved. Police reported his blood alcohol level at 0.084, which is above the legal limit in Korea of 0.05.
At the time of Kang’s arrest, Frank Coonelly the Pirates president released a statement that said the team was aware of what he said were serious charges against Kang.
Coonelly added that the team was extremely disappointed with Kang, as he knew firsthand how dangerous and foolish driving under the influence is.
In December of 2011, Coonelly was arrested for DUI. He subsequently apologized for the DUI and was entered into a first-time offenders program by the judge in charge of his case.
Kang, who is 29, signed a contract of 4 years for $11 million in January of 2015 with Pittsburgh after he played 9 years in Korea.
Kang ended the 2015 season in third place in voting for the NL Rookie of the Year.