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Jung Ho Kang is done for the season


UPDATE: The Pirates announced that Kang had surgery tonight for a displaced lateral tibial plateau fracture and also required a lateral meniscal repair. The estimated recovery time is 6-8 months, so he could miss the early part of the 2016 season.

7:18 p.m. ET: When Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang was injured on a takeout slide from Chris Coghlan in today’s game against the Cubs, it was easy to think the worst. Unfortunately for the Pirates, the worst-case scenario has been confirmed.

Dejan Kovacevic of DKPittsburghSports.com reports (via Bob Nightengale of USA Today) that Kang will miss the remainder of the season due to a fractured tibial plateau and a torn MCL in his left knee. The injury will require surgery.

The injury is obviously a brutal blow for the Pirates. Kang has had an excellent first season stateside, batting .287/.355/.461 with 15 home runs and 58 RBI over 126 games. He has also held his own defensively between shortstop and third base. Jordy Mercer will function as Pittsburgh’s regular shortstop the rest of the way.

As for the takeout slide from Coghlan, Kang issued the following statement through his agent:

Jharel Cotton to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.

This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to MLB.com’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 26-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.