JULY 8: Harrison has a torn UCL in his left thumb and is expected to miss seven weeks after surgery, Pittsburgh announced.
JULY 6, 2:51pm: Harrison says he’ll receive a second opinion once the swelling in his hand goes down, but for the time being, there’s no specific diagnosis or timeline on his recovery, per MLB.com’s Adam Berry (on Twitter).
2:36pm: Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison will miss the next six weeks with a torn ligament in his thumb, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Twitter links). Harrison injured his thumb while sliding into second base on Sunday, according to Biertempfel.
Harrison will be placed on the disabled list to accommodate the club’s roster claim of Travis Ishikawa, the Pirates announced. The loss of Harrison likely means that the Pirates’ infield alignment will feature Jung Ho Kang at third base and Jordy Mercer at shortstop for the foreseeable future. Harrison will also no longer be an option to spell Gregory Polanco in right field against left-handed pitching, as he’s done on occasion this season.
The 27-year-old Harrison signed a four-year extension with the Pirates this offseason and got off to a slow start in the wake of that deal. However, he’s turned it on since the beginning of May, batting .302/.335/.391 in that time with a pair of homers and nine steals. Most of his defensive work this season has come at the hot corner, where Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved peg him at slightly below average to average, although he grades out as a plus defender there over the course of his entire career.
Harrison’s loss makes the club’s offseason acquisition of Kang that much more crucial, as Kang’s versatility will soften the blow of losing Harrison’s productivity for the next month and a half.