Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison will miss roughly six weeks after suffering a fractured fifth metacarpal in his left hand, per a club announcement Monday. Harrison exited in the third inning of Sunday’s game after being hit by a Jose Urena pitch.
Harrison had started rather slowly this season, posting a .263/.328/.351 slash line with one homer over his first 64 plate appearances, but the loss of a two-time All-Star who can play multiple positions is undoubtedly a setback for a club that has enjoyed a surprisingly successful start.
For a while this offseason, it looked like Harrison was on his way out of Pittsburgh after the Pirates traded franchise icons Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen. Now we’ll get to see what their lineup would have looked like if Harrison had been dealt. Sean Rodriguez and Adam Frazier are already on the major-league roster and seem to be the most likely candidates to see increased playing time in Harrison’s absence. Max Moroff is already on the 40-man roster and has posted a .280/.406/.440 slash line thus far in Triple-A, so he seems likely to replace Harrison on the 25-man roster and could also be in line to get some starts at second.
If the Pirates really wanted to be bold, they could promote 2015 first-rounder Kevin Newman, who has started two games at second this season after playing exclusively shortstop over his first three seasons. Newman, known for his defense and contact-hitting skills, has posted a mediocre .259/.259/.370 line over 29 Triple-A plate appearances this season, and he’d have to be added to the 40-man roster.