The Pirates have issued a press release announcing that infielder Josh Harrison has suffered a right groin strain and is projected to require four to six weeks in order to recover, thus ruling him out for the remainder of the regular season. Should the Pirates make a last-minute surge and find themselves in the postseason, Harrison could potentially return in mid-October if his recovery period proves to be on the shorter end of the spectrum provided by the team. Harrison tells MLB.com’s Adam Berry that he’ll perform his rehab with the team and continue to travel with the club (Twitter link).
Harrison, 29, will see his regular season come to a close with a .283/.311/.388 batting line, four homers and a career-high 19 stolen bases on the year. Though he’s capable of playing all over the diamond, Harrison has served as Pittsburgh’s primary second baseman this season, with David Freese manning third base in the lengthy absences of Jung Ho Kang, Jordy Mercer handling shortstop and Sean Rodriguez filling in at three infield spots and both corner outfield positions.
Harrison is in the second season of a four-year, $27.3MM contract extension that was signed early in the 2015 season and called for him to earn a reasonable $5MM in 2016. He’s guaranteed salaries of $7.5MM and $10MM in each of the next two seasons, and the Bucs have club options that are worth $10.5MM and $11MM, respectively, for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. While Harrison hasn’t played up to the standard that earned him that contract — he batted .315/.347/.490 with a career-best 13 homers in 2014 — he’s been a useful piece for the Pirates in each of the past two seasons and figures to continue to operate as such moving forward. The power he displayed in 2014 always seemed a bit dubious — six of his homers that year were of the “just enough” variety, and he’d never topped seven homers in a previous professional season — but Harrison has maintained his excellent contact skills (14.6 percent strikeout rate this year), delivered consistently above-average value on the basepaths and provided perennially above-average defense at second base.