Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang has decided to appeal his DUI sentence in South Korea, reports Jee-ho Yoo of Korea’s Yonhap News Agency (Twitter links). The appeal decision on Kang’s behalf was made in an effort to get his sentence reduced to a court fine, which would expedite his visa acquisition process and allow him to join the Pirates more quickly. The 29-year-old Kang admitted guilt following what was reportedly his third DUI arrest and received an eight-month sentence that was suspended for two years earlier this month. Kang can reportedly avoid any jail time if he does not violate the terms set forth as part of the agreement to suspend his sentence. The Pirates placed Kang on the restricted list over the weekend, as Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote, and as of that writing it had yet to be determined precisely how long Kang would require to secure his work visa. The infielder hoped to resolve the issue within a week, per Adamski, but Pirates president Frank Coonnelly chose not to comment on the matter. It’s not yet known if Kang will face any type of punishment from the team upon arriving in the U.S.
Here’s more from the NL Central…
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty is working to correct some bad habits in his swing that were related to the movement/placement of his back leg. Piscotty and hitting coach John Mabry break down some previous mechanical flaws in the 26-year-old’s swing to Goold, with Piscotty adding that his goal is to be able to elevate the ball more often. With his previous swing mechanics, Piscotty feels that he focused too much on his upper half and would subsequently roll over too many pitches and hit too many grounders. Mabry notes that Piscotty would like to boost his home run total from the low 20s to 30 or more. Per Goold, Piscotty is likely tabbed as the Cardinals’ cleanup hitter heading into the 2017 campaign.
- Goold also reports that 20-year-old Low-Class-A outfielder Magneuris Sierra has turned heads in Cardinals camp with his speed and defensive prowess. While Sierra isn’t pushing either Tommy Pham or Jose Martinez for a spot in the team’s Major League bench, he could move quickly through the organization and jump to Double-A to open the current season. Manager Mike Matheny lauded Sierra for his defensive ability and noted that his bat and approach give him a chance to be a well-rounded player in the Majors. Last season in the Class-A Midwest League, Sierra batted .307/.335/.395 with three homers and 31 steals in 122 games.
- Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar, who was claimed off waivers from the Indians this winter, is having a strong enough spring to force himself into the mix for a roster spot, writes MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. Aguilar, who has homered three times this spring and cracked a pair of doubles as well, tells McCalvy that he’s grateful for the opportunity to compete for a bench role after being largely blocked by players like Carlos Santana, Mike Napoli and, this offseason, Edwin Encarnacion in Cleveland. “I feel like I’ve been waiting for a new opportunity for a while, and thankfully I’m in an organization that is giving young players a lot of opportunity,” said the 26-year-old slugger. Aguilar mashed 30 homers last year in Triple-A Columbus, though his .247/.319/.472 slash line isn’t quite as impressive as that round home run total may immediately indicate. As McCalvy notes, though, the right-handed-hitting Aguilar could be a nice complement to lefty swinging Eric Thames.