Kang (restricted list) to play DR winter ball

September 24th, 2017
Jung Ho Kang last played in the Majors on Oct. 2, 2016. (AP)Gene J. Puskar/AP

PITTSBURGH -- has been cleared to play winter ball and has begun preseason workouts in the Dominican Republic.

Kang will remain on the Pirates' restricted list, where he has spent the season following an offseason arrest for driving under the influence. General manager Neal Huntington said Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association granted the Pirates an exemption that allows Kang to play in the Dominican Winter League while remaining on the restricted list, where he is unpaid and not occupying a spot on Pittsburgh's 40-man roster.

In other words: Kang is ready and able to play competitive baseball for the first time since his last game with the Pirates on Oct. 2, 2016.

"He's worked hard to try to stay as close to baseball condition as he could. He's going to need some time to get up to game speed," Huntington said. "We'll have a lot of people go down and travel down with him and try to continue to keep him where he needs to be, but so far, so good."

Aguilas Cibaenas, Kang's Dominican Winter League club, posted several pictures and videos on Twitter of Kang working out on Sunday. Huntington said the Pirates want Kang to work at third base, but he could bounce over to shortstop eventually.

"Our focus really has been getting him back [to being] competitive, getting him in the batter's box, getting him back up to the speed of the game again and getting him at-bats," Huntington said. "Our goal is to get him in the batter's box, get him on the bases, get him out there defensively."

As a South Korean citizen, Kang does not need a work visa to visit the Dominican Republic for fewer than 90 days. He will require one to return to the United States, however. He could not acquire a work visa this year after it was revealed he had been charged with three DUIs since 2009.

Huntington said the Pirates will need to know Kang's availability "early in the offseason" as they build their 2018 roster.

"We'll get to a point in time where, if we still don't know, we'll plan as if he's not going to be here," Huntington said. "If he is able to secure a visa to get into the country, we'll have an extra really good player."

Around the horn

and will start Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, against the Orioles at PNC Park. The Pirates have not yet revealed their rotation for their four-game series at Nationals Park to conclude the season.

and were available out of the bullpen on Sunday. Bucs manager Clint Hurdle said both rookies will "absolutely" pitch again this season. While Brault has pitched well for Pittsburgh, Glasnow has given up seven runs on four hits and 10 walks in four innings since returning from Triple-A Indianapolis.

What's next for Glasnow?

"We continue to give him opportunities to show the advancements and developments he's made," Huntington said. "That's the next step we take with him, continuing to get him to trust his stuff and trust that he has the ability to play at this level."

• Amid protests around the National Football League and following A's rookie 's decision to kneel during the national anthem on Saturday, the Pirates and Cardinals stood throughout the Star Spangled Banner before Sunday's series finale.

"We appreciate our players' desire and ability to express their opinions respectfully and when done properly," Huntington said.