Jung Ho Kang's legal troubles were enough to keep him in the headlines for most of the offseason. Now, it appears that other off-the-field concerns might shelf the Pittsburgh third baseman for the entire 2017 campaign.
Kang applied for entrance to the U.S. from South Korea, by way of a work visa. The U.S. Embassy promptly denied the visa request, which sources say may be due to the DUI conviction. This was Kang's third DUI, which is grounds for license confiscation in South Korea. And now, apparently, that DUI might be enough to keep Kang out of the country where his team plays. Call it what you want, but Kang is learning the hard way that drinking and driving can be awfully costly.
Here's what else is happening around the National League:
Early in April, the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs will undergo a uniform tweak that every team wants to experience at one point or another. That's right, the Cubbies are going gold for two home games on April 8 and 10. They'll have gold numbers and names, as well as a sleek-looking trim that will have the North Siders looking trendy as they look to repeat.
The Nationals appear to be going young in the closing department. Washington may be targeting 23-year-old Koda Glover as their new closer. Glover might be on the younger side, but he's risen quickly through the minor league system, including a remarkable 2016 ascension where he started the season at High-A Potomac, and ended with his major league debut in September. If Glover can prove himself as the bona fide finisher on this team, the Nats will fill a major void.
The Phillies and Major League Baseball lost a huge figure earlier this week. Dallas Green, former Phillies player and manager, died on Wednesday at the age of 82. Green was a solid player in Philly, but he's best known for leading McGraw, Schmidt, and Co. to the 1980 World Series title, Philadelphia's first. He'll always be one of the most decorated Phillies figures, and he'll be missed by all.
The Cardinals, trying to counter the Cubs in the NL Central, have added an arm. Josh Zeid signed a minor-league deal with St. Louis this week. Zeid has bounced around the minors with a few teams over the last few years, but he made a name for himself at this year's World Baseball Classic, where he starred for Team Israel. Zeid never allowed a run in ten innings of WBC work, proving that even at the age of 30, he might be worth taking a chance on.
The Giants were dealt a tough break this week, when one of their most lucrative new players fell under the Tommy John curse. Reliever Will Smith will likely undergo Tommy John surgery, and if he does, he'll miss the entire 2017 season. Smith was potentially a set-up man for this Giants pitching staff, so this one hurts. The injury all but assures that Matt Cain will work his way into the rotation, as top competitor Ty Blach will likely move to the pen to make up for the loss of Smith.