South Korean infielder Jung Ho Kang will rejoin the Pittsburgh Pirates organization for the first time since the start of the 2017 season, the team announced Thursday.
The 31-year-old Kang was placed on the restricted list in March of 2017 due to visa issues that resulted when he was arrested in his native country for DUI.
"After a lengthy process, we are pleased that Jung Ho has been allowed to reenter to the United States," Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a team statement. "We are encouraged by the steps that Jung Ho has taken to date and are hopeful that having the game he loves taken away from him for more than a year has driven home the reality that he must make better life decisions as we move forward together. As we have communicated to him throughout this process, we will work to provide Jung Ho with the resources and support necessary for him to meet the high expectations that we have for him as a member of our organization and our community."
Kang received an eight-month suspended prison sentence last year after a DUI arrest in December 2016, his third in South Korea. The sentence was suspended for two years.
According to the team, Kang will report to the Pirates facility in Bradenton, Florida, after he fulfills obligations under the treatment program he agreed to in January 2017. He will remain on the restricted list until he's in condition to rejoin the major league team.
In his first two seasons with the Pirates, Kang batted .273 with 36 home runs and 120 RBIs. He played 169 games at third base and another 60 at shortstop.