Pirates’ Kang Jung-ho out for season with knee injury

September 17, 2015
Pittsburgh Pirates' Kang Jung-ho, center, is helped off the field by a team trainer, right, and his interpreter after injuring his left leg turning a double play in the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. Kang left the game. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Pittsburgh Pirates’ Kang Jung-ho, center, is helped off the field by a team trainer, right, and his interpreter after injuring his left leg turning a double play in the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. Kang left the game. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

By Brian Han

It looks like Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Kang Jung-ho will have to end his bid for Rookie of the Year after a nasty collision at second base on Thursday involving Chicago Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan.

Coghlan tried to break up the double play with a late slide while kicking up his right leg to make contact with Kang’s left knee.

Replays showed that the joint was hyper extended resulting in a torn meniscus, torn MCL and a fractured tibial plateau according to ESPN.

Kang will undergo surgery tonight. The injuries involved typically need six to eight months to recover.

This is the second time Coghlan has seriously injured a middle infielder with a slide. The last happened back in 2009 when he tried to break up a double play against the Tampa Bay Rays. He slid into the leg of Japanese second baseman Akinori Iwamura and ended his season.

“This is the most painful moment I’ve ever had in the States,” Iwamura told reporters afterward. “Obviously it hurt when the guy hit me.”

But Kang refused to blame Coghlan as he released a statement through his agent regarding the situation.

“It is unfortunate that what would be considered heads up baseball would cause such a serious injury,” he said. “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.”

Regardless of intentions, the loss will be a significant blow to the Pirates offense as Kang led the team with a .310 batting average, .548 slugging percentage and 11 home runs since the All-Star break.

The 28-year-old rookie came into Thursday’s game hitting .287/.355/.461 with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs in 125 games.

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