PIRATES – FRIDAY
Jung Ho Kang is done for the season and, in the day after, it seems easy to assign blame to Chris Coghlan.
Kang, the Pirates’ rookie infielder, suffered a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee and a broken fibula in his left leg Thursday after Coghlan, the Cubs’ right fielder, slide into him at second base while trying unsuccessfully to break up a double play in the first inning of a game the Cubs eventually won 9-6 at PNC Park.
The injuries are so severe that Kang may not be ready when the Pirates open next season April 4 against the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park. The team’s medical staff estimates Kang will be out 6-8 months after undergoing surgery Thursday night.
However, all parties agreed that Coghlan should not be blamed for the injury, including Kang in a statement issued through his agent, Alan Nero.
“It is unfortunate that what would be considered heads-up baseball would cause such a serious injury,” Kang said. “That said, Coghlan was playing the game the way it should be played. I’m confident he meant me no harm.”
Manager Clint Hurdle also absolved Coghlan of blame.
“The player pretty much slid into the bag,” Hurdle said. “It’s not like he went way out one way or the other. It’s a hard slide.”
A veteran Major League Baseball umpire, not authorized to speak on the record, saw numerous replays of the slide and also said it was a clean play.
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