Pirates GM Neal Huntington confirmed Monday that Jung Ho Kang will not be ready for Opening Day.
That assumption could have been made without Huntington's help given that Opening Day is less than two weeks away and Kang still hasn't arrived at Pirates camp in Bradenton, Florida. The infielder is trying to secure a work visa in South Korea, but his latest criminal case is complicating matters. Kang was charged with his third DUI in seven years on December 2 in Seoul when he struck a guardrail with his car and fled the scene. He later tried to pin it on the person in the passenger seat. There is no timetable for Kang's return to the Pirates' active roster.
Stephen Strasburg is lined up to start on Opening Day for the Nationals.
The nod would have gone to reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, but he was slowed this spring by a stress fracture in his right ring finger and projects to start the Nats' third regular-season game. Gio Gonzalez is in line for the second game of the season, and Tanner Roark likely will start the fourth. None of this is official yet.
Ian Kinsler went 2-for-5 with a two-run home run as the United States defeated Puerto Rico in Wednesday's World Baseball Classic finals.
Kinsler made waves earlier in the day for saying that he did not appreciate the way that Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic celebrated passionately after big plays. Predictably, Kinsler would homer in Wednesday's WBC final. He proceeded to jog around the bases without emphasis. In addition to his no-fun home run, Kinsler also singled to lead off a two-run fifth inning for the States. Now onward to the regular season, where the veteran second baseman will try to match a 2016 campaign in which he slashed .288/.348/.484 while launching 28 homers, driving 83 runs and stealing 14 bases over the course of 153 games played. That .484 slugging percentage was his highest since 2009.
Angel Pagan went 2-for-4 with a double in Puerto Rico's loss to the United States in Wednesday's World Baseball Classic final.
Pagan played spoiler in this one, as his double against Marcus Stroman to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning was the first hit of the game for Puerto Rico. Alas, the game was all but over at that point -- the United States held a 7-0 lead at the time of Pagan's two-bagger. The veteran outfielder remains a free agent as the season nears. He reportedly had a contract agreement with the Orioles that fell through earlier in March due to a failed physical.
Marcus Stroman was dominant in helping the United States to down Puerto Rico 8-0 in Wednesday's World Baseball Classic finals, allowing one hit over six-plus scoreless innings.
Working with a brutally heavy sinker, Stroman turned in a dominant performance in the WBC-clincher. He did not allow a hit through his first six innings of work. Angel Pagan finally snapped the no-no with a double to lead off the seventh, after which Stroman took a well-deserved ovation on his way to the dugout. He struck out three and walked one in the big spring victory, finishing the title-clincher having thrown 73 pitches (44 for strikes). As for the coming season, the 25-year-old right-hander will look to improve upon the 4.37 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 166/54 K/BB ratio he registered in 204 innings during the 2016 campaign.
Seth Lugo allowed four runs on five hits in four innings as Puerto Rico fell to the United States in Wednesday's World Baseball Classic finals.
Lugo fanned seven during his time on the mound, but he was unable to keep the United States at bay completely. Ian Kinsler put the US on the board with a two-run home run in the third inning. Kinsler was at it again in the fifth, singling to lead off the frame. Lugo would go on to walk Adam Jones and surrender an RBI single to Christian Yelich before he was lifted from the contest.
Adam Duvall went 1-for-2 with a two-run home run in Wednesday's rain-shortened Cactus League win over the Cubs.
Duvall opened the floodgates to a five-run fourth inning when he homered off Ryan Williams with one on and nobody out. He has now whacked a quartet of taters during spring play. This past season served as a breakout one for Duvall, who slashed .241/.297/.498 with 33 home runs and 103 RBI across 552 at-bats.
Kyle Schwarber went 2-for-3 with a two-run home run in Wednesday's rain-shortened Cactus League loss to the Reds.
Schwarber rocked a two-run home run off Scott Feldman in the fifth inning. The game was called on account of rain a short time later. This was Schwarber's third homer of the spring. With the season rapidly approaching, perhaps the best thing that the Cubs -- and interested fantasy parties -- can take away from Schwarber's camp is that he has reported no sign of soreness or discomfort in his surgically-repaired left knee.