OXON HILL, Md. — Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang’s arrest in South Korea last week on a charge of driving under the influence — his third DUI arrest since 2009 — will trigger a mandatory assessment from a joint treatment panel under baseball’s collective bargaining agreement.
The Pirates said Monday that they did not know about Kang’s two prior DUI arrests before they signed him in January 2015.
Third DUI leads South Korea to cut Pirates' Jung Ho Kang from WBC team
“We didn’t uncover it,” general manager Neal Huntington said on the first day of baseball’s winter meetings at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center here. “It will be a part of our process as we go forward in terms of how do we help him? How do we get him back on the right track? How do we help him become not only a very productive player but a quality man as well?”
Attachment 27 of the most recent collective bargaining agreement, which expired Thursday and will be replaced by a new agreement once the owners and players ratify it, provides for a joint treatment board to review alcohol-related conduct, and create and supervise individualized treatment plans for players who commit certain offenses. Kang is required to appear before the panel because of his DUI charge, but participation in any recommended treatment program is voluntary.
“Right now it’s just the CBA-mandated assessment and see how that plays out,” Huntington said. “But our focus right now is to get him the assessment and get him whatever help we can provide.”
Asked about whether Kang might face discipline from Major League Baseball or the Pirates, Huntington said, “That’s a great question. Our focus right now is to get him the assessment and determine what the steps are from there.”
According to a State Department official, the consular officer reviewing visa cases might require a medical examination to determine whether there is a visa ineligibility if someone has been charged with drunk driving. Kang received a work visa and played for the Pirates in 2015 and this year after the two previous DUIs. The official said the State Department cannot discuss individual visa cases.
“We had not been aware of Jung Ho’s previous DUI charges,” Pirates spokesman Brian Warecki said in an email Monday afternoon. “Our immediate focus is on helping Jung Ho and are working with the medical professionals at MLB and the [Players Association] to accomplish that.”
Kang was charged with leaving the scene of a DUI accident Friday morning in Seoul after he crashed into a guard rail. Local police told the Yonhap News Agency that a friend of Kang’s in the passenger seat initially told police that the friend was driving, but the car’s black box identified Kang as the driver. The friend, identified only by the surname Yoo, told police the swap was done out of goodwill, but if police determine Kang asked or forced Yoo to claim responsibility, they both could face abetting charges.
Kang’s blood alcohol level was 0.084, above Korea’s legal limit of 0.05. In Pennsylvania, the legal limit is 0.08. Kang’s license is subject to revocation because he committed his third DUI offense, and he cannot reacquire it for two years.
“I’d like to apologize to everyone who is disappointed with me,” Kang said in a statement Friday. “Today, I got behind the wheel after drinking, and committed an irrevocable mistake. I panicked at the moment of the accident and did something that I never should have done.”
Kang also has been the subject of an investigation by Chicago police of allegations of a sexual assault in June, when the Pirates were in town to play the Cubs.
Bill Brink/ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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