Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang is working his way back from a leg injury he suffered toward the end of the 2015 season.
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Kang Unsure of Opening Day Return
Saturday, Feb. 20
Speaking with ESPN.com on Saturday, Kang disclosed an update on his leg.
"I don't know," he said. "Nobody knows. I know it's not 100 percent yet, but I've been working hard. I believe it's going to get better."
Kang suffered the devastating injury in September against the Chicago Cubs when Chris Coghlan slid into him at second base as he attempted to turn a double play.
The Pirates brought Kang aboard from the Korea Baseball Organization, and he impressed in his first season with a .287 batting average, 15 home runs and 58 RBI. His versatility in the infield and ability to play third base or shortstop proved crucial, and he added some additional power alongside Andrew McCutchen in the lineup.
The Pirates will certainly miss that skill set if Kang is not ready by Opening Day. They'll have to use spring training to find a suitable option to replace him if he is unable to go.
While Pittsburgh has some pieces to remain afloat, it plays in a loaded National League Central that features 2015 playoff teams in the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. The Pirates need Kang back in the middle of the order if they hope to keep pace over the long course of the season, especially since they lost their one postseason game last year without him.