The Pirates will be without their sparkplug second baseman and leadoff hitter for about six weeks, as Josh Harrison was diagnosed on Monday with a fractured fifth metacarpal in his left hand.
Harrison was hit by a pitch on Sunday while leading off the third inning at Marlins Park, and he left the game. He was examined on Monday by Dr. Edward Birdsong, the club's hand specialist, who delivered the frustrating diagnosis -- the same one that ended Harrison's 2017 season a month early.
This spring, manager Clint Hurdle dubbed the 30-year-old the Pirates' CEO -- "Chief Energy Officer" -- for his relentless hustle. Harrison was hitting .263 with a .679 OPS and 12 runs for the Bucs this season.
Harrison was stung on Sunday by a Jose Urena fastball clocked at 96 mph by Statcast™, but he hopped up and down inside the batter's box and then walked slowly to first base, visibly upset and in pain. He was seen by Hurdle and head athletic trainer Bryan Housand before leaving the game, flinging his helmet down the dugout steps as he walked off the field.
"I'm pretty frustrated. It definitely [stinks] being hit. Guys throw hard."
The Pirates did not announce a transaction when they revealed Harrison's status, but he will be placed on the 10-day disabled list before Monday's series opener against the Rockies at PNC Park. Adam Frazier should now play an expanded role, likely batting leadoff and getting significant playing time at second base. Sean Rodriguez should share time with Frazier at second. When Frazier is off, it's possible that hot-hitting left fielder Corey Dickerson could move into the leadoff spot.
Harrison would know that more than most. He was hit by a career-high 23 pitches last season, and the last one ended his All-Star campaign. On Sept. 2, Harrison was plunked by a 95.3-mph fastball from Reds right-hander Tyler Mahle; he was placed on the disabled list the next day and did not return.
At the time, Harrison expressed his frustration with the toll the career-high HBP total took on his body.
"I just think guys need to know if you're going to throw in, you've got to be able to locate. You get hit 23 times, I don't like to say it, but unfortunately something may happen."