Kang reportedly removed from Korea's roster

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang has been dropped from Korea's World Baseball Classic roster, the Yonhap News Agency reported Tuesday night.

Kang was expected to represent Korea in the international tournament this March, but he was arrested in December for DUI while back in his home country. Korea manager In-Sik Kim recently told Yonhap News that given the "worsening public opinion" of Kang -- a former Korean Baseball Organization star who signed with the Pirates two years ago -- he could be removed from the roster.

"Jung Ho is a great player, but I've started to wonder if it's worth the trouble taking him to the WBC," Kim told Yonhap. "Personally, I am leaning toward taking Kang off the roster."

The news came down late Tuesday. Kang was reportedly replaced by Ha Seong Kim, a shortstop for the KBO's Nexen Heroes, Kang's former team. Korea is scheduled to open World Baseball Classic play on March 6 in Seoul, South Korea.

Kang was arrested in early December for fleeing the scene of an accident he allegedly caused while driving under the influence. It was later revealed to be Kang's third DUI charge since 2009. The Pirates were not aware of the two previous incidents. Kang is now facing indictment over the DUI charge, according to Yonhap News. Kang also was accused of sexual assault in Chicago last year but has not been charged in what is an ongoing investigation.

"We remain focused on getting him the help he needs personally, as well as helping him prepare to compete this season," Pirates spokesman Brian Warecki said Tuesday.

Last month, the Pirates said Kang must appear before a collectively bargained treatment panel. While the appearance is mandatory, according to Attachment 27 of the previous Basic Agreement, participation in a resulting treatment program is voluntary. However, "the Player's participation in any Treatment Program shall be considered as a mitigating factor in any discipline imposed by either the Club or the Office of the Commissioner," according to the agreement.

Rangers reliever Jeremy Jeffress was arrested and charged with DWI last year. Jeffress entered a rehabilitation clinic in Houston and was reinstated nearly a month later.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.