The Pittsburgh Pirates today placed infielder Josh Harrison on the disabled list with torn ligaments in his thumb. Early estimates have him missing six weeks, which would keep him out until late August.
Harrison, who turns 28 on Wednesday, signed a big extension with the Pirates in the offseason on the strength of a huge breakout in 2014. He’s still been a useful player in 2015, but has taken a considerable step back (mostly due to BABIP regression).
So, is this big news in the NL Central and in the Wild Card race? I suppose it depends on whether you think Harrison was going to turn things around in the second half of the season. Travis Ishikawa will take Harrison’s place on the 25-man roster, and they’ll likely use Jung-Ho Kang and Sean Rodriguez more at third base in Harrison’s absence.
The injury is particularly ill-timed for the Pirates, who play the Cardinals for four games this weekend. It looks like Harrison will miss a Cubs series, and another Cardinals series, in early August, as well.
The Cubs currently trail the Pirates by 2.5 in the Central (and for the top Wild Card spot). The Pirates, in turn, are 6.0 games behind the Cardinals.
Also, you can’t mention Josh Harrison in July without noting that he was once a lightly-regarded Cubs farmhand, sent to the Pirates in a July 30 deal in 2009, netting the Cubs Tom Gorzelanny and John Grabow. The Cubs, of course, did not make the playoffs that year, and Harrison has been a huge piece for the Pirates. C’est la vie.