Ji-hwan Bae, Pittsburgh Pirates minor leaguer, leaves team amid domestic violence investigation

MLB

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Ji-hwan Bae, a minor league shortstop in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, has returned home to Daegu, South Korea, because of a police investigation into allegations he physically assaulted his ex-girlfriend.

Bae, 18, left the team’s training complex in Bradenton, Florida, where he was awaiting the start of the rookie-level Gulf Coast League season.

According to Sports Chosun, a South Korean media outlet, the woman filed a police report this week alleging that Bae slapped, choked and kicked her on New Year’s Eve in 2017. Police in Daegu requested that Bae return to South Korea to be questioned.

The Athletic was first to report Bae’s return to Korea.

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said the team had informed Major League Baseball of the matter.

“The Pirates are cooperating fully with MLB’s review,” Huntington said, according to The Athletic. “Bae has decided to return to South Korea to address these allegations directly. At this point, consistent with MLB’s policy, Bae is permitted to participate in baseball activities during this review.”

The Pirates signed Bae for $1.2 million in March, the second-largest international signing in franchise history. Last year, Bae batted .474 in 27 games for Kyeongbuk High School and won the Lee Young-min Batting Award as the top high school hitter in South Korea.

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