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GM Neal Huntington: Pirates close to next move in Jung Ho Kang's reinstatement

Jerry DiPaola
| Sunday, June 10, 2018, 3:23 p.m.
The Pirates' Jung Ho Kang fields a ball during the fourth inning against the Cubs on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Pirates' Jung Ho Kang fields a ball during the fourth inning against the Cubs on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, at PNC Park.

General manager Neal Huntington said the Pirates are approaching a time when they could consider reinstating Jung Ho Kang, either to Triple-A Indianapolis or back with the Pirates.

“There's no set date,” Huntington said on 93.7 FM. “We're getting to a point in time where he's close to being at an appropriate conditioning level, at an appropriate level for us to consider reinstating him. That should or could be done in the coming week to 10 days.

“We'll see where we are at that point in time.”

The next move for Kang, who is on the restricted list after being charged with three DUIs, is to move from Class A Bradenton to Indianapolis.

Huntington said Kang, who hit .417 with three homers in 24 at-bats for the Bradenton Marauders, will be in the Indiananpolis lineup Monday.

“The offense has shown back up again,” Huntington said. “He's hit fastballs. He's hit breaking pitches, has been challenged a few times with some velocity and has done a nice job there.

“Athletically, at third base and shortstop, he's making the plays when the ball's hit near him. We're still working through conditioning and the ability to range, the ability to play on a consistent basis.”

Huntington wants Kang, who hit .273 with 36 home runs and 120 RBIs with the Pirates in 2015 and '16, to “get challenged by upper level pitching.”

After that, he said, “look for us to make a decision here in the near term as to whether we feel like he's ready to come back to Pittsburgh, whether he's ready to be reinstated and potentially optioned to Indianapolis.”

Huntington said Kang “won't be thrilled with (being sent to Indianapolis) if that's path we end up going.”

“There's a difference between being physically ready to play and being back to his accustomed level. We're working through the exact specifications of where and when and how.”

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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