By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, June 29 (Yonhap) -- Besieged by mounting criticism over his past drunk driving cases, embattled former big leaguer Kang Jung-ho has abandoned his comeback bid with the top South Korean league.
In an Instagram post, Kang announced Monday that he has informed the Kiwoom Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) that he will not attempt to rejoin the team.
Kang, who was released by the Pittsburgh Pirates last August, was seeking a return to the Heroes, a franchise he'd played from 2006 to 2014 before going to the majors.
Kang had been grilled in the court of public opinion over his three drunk driving incidents, the last of which led to a suspended jail term in May 2017. Kang held a press conference last Tuesday in Seoul to apologize for his mishaps, but his detractors questioned the timing and sincerity of his apology. They argued that he was only hoping to extend his playing career and that if he were truly sorry, the apology should have come three years earlier.
The Heroes had retained rights to Kang when he left for the Pirates, and if Kang had signed with them, he would have had to serve a one-year suspension handed down by the KBO last month.
That's all moot now, but the 33-year-old infielder can still play overseas if he chooses to or if he can find a suitor.