The Pirates lost an important cog of the left side of their infield for the remainder of the season Thursday.
According to Dejan Kovacevic of DKPittsburghSports.com, Pittsburgh third baseman and shortstop Jung Ho Kang is out for the rest of the 2015 season due to a torn MCL and meniscus, as well as a broken tibia in his leg.
Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that Kang will have knee surgery tonight.
Kang suffered his leg injury on a collision by second base with Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan, who was sliding to break up a possible double play.
Said Kang's agent, Alan Nero of Octagon Sports, in a statement: "It is unfortunate that what would be considered heads up baseball would cause such a serious injury. That said, Coghlan was playing the game the way it should be played. I'm confident he meant me no harm. I appreciate everyone's support."
The injury has plenty of implications, including the future of Kang as he recovers from this extremely serious injury as well as the Pirates chances of going deep into the playoffs.
Pittsburgh is currently 87-59 and is 4 1/2 games behind the NL-Central-leading-Cardinals. The team is in command of the first Wild Card spot in the league, holding a two game over the Cubs for the lead, as well as a ten game lead over the Giants for a playoff spot overall.
Kang, who was signed to a four-year, $11 million deal this offseason (plus a $5 million posting fee), has been in every way a complete bargain for the team. The rookie is hitting .287/.355/.461 (123 OPS+) with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs over 467 plate appearances, also registering as an above average defender and base runner. Overall, Kang has been worth 4.0 fWAR this season.
In his place, the Pirates will have to rely on the play of Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer, both of whom have had subpar seasons offensively, posting a 87 and 63 OPS+, respectively. In all likelihood, Harrison will play third and Mercer will stick at short.