PITTSBURGH — Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison’s season is over with a broken fifth metacarpal on his left hand.
Harrison suffered the injury on Saturday, when he was hit with a 96-mph fastball from Cincinnati Reds pitcher Luis Castillo. Sunday, he was placed on the 10-day disabled list.
It brings to a premature end what has been a fantastic season for Harrison, who will finish with a .272/.339/.432 line for a 103 wRC+, the second-highest figure for his major-league career.
Ironically, that figure was buoyed by his hit-by-pitch totals, as his 23 HPB ended up eclipsing the total of his previous four seasons. Those helped his OBP to its highest total since 2014, the last time Harrison was an All-Star before this year.
“He had poured everything he had into the season and left everything on the field,” manager Clint Hurdle said Sunday. “I guess the 23rd hit-by-pitch broke the piñata, literally. An unfortunate circumstance, for sure.”
Sean Rodriguez replaced Harrison in the field on Saturday, but Hurdle said that it will be Max Moroff getting the majority of the reps at that spot the rest of the way, with recently recalled Chris Bostick in the mix, as well as Adam Frazier, when he returns from injury.
“For Max, we were going to hunt for some playing time for him anyway in the month of September,” Hurdle said. “This opens that avenue up, clearly.”
Moroff hasn’t had many opportunities to get starts, and especially not on consecutive days. He hasn’t started back-to-back games in the majors all season.
In the future, Hurdle doesn’t anticipate any changes to Harrison’s approach in reaction to the number of times he’s been plunked this season.
“Josh has found a stance and an approach to hitting that he’s very convicted with,” Hurdle said. “It wasn’t so bad the year before. This time it got toxic. We’ll see what next year brings, but I don’t seem him making any changes as far as approach, stance or stride.”
ON THE MEND
Reliever George Kontos threw a 30-pitch bullpen session and is scheduled to be reinstated from the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday if his right groin responds well.
Francisco Cervelli (left quad) and Gregory Polanco (left hamstring) both took turns in the batting cage, but neither had an update on their status. Polanco is already eligible to be reinstated. Cervelli will be eligible Sept. 4.
SIX A CROWD?
Steven Brault will start on Tuesday, giving Ivan Nova a chance to skip a start. But Tyler Glasnow will be added to the rotation eventually, too, giving the Pirates seven starting pitchers for five spots. Or maybe six. Hurdle said they’re considering going to six-man rotation down the stretch, but haven’t made a definitive decision and probably won’t until they know when they’re getting Glasnow.
“We have those conversations — Ray (Searage), Neal (Huntington), and I — about twice a week,” Hurdle said. “That has been tabled.”
Gm 137: ☠ (64-72) v
SS Mercer@MeLlamoTrevor (4.37) vs. Sal Romano 🧀 (4.91)
— Alan Saunders (@ASaunders_PGH) September 3, 2017