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Pirates notebook: Harrison goes on DL with broken finger, ending his season

Rob Biertempfel
| Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, 4:12 p.m.
The Pirates' Josh Harrison watches from the dugout during a game against the Reds on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Pirates' Josh Harrison watches from the dugout during a game against the Reds on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, at PNC Park.

Josh Harrison has been plunked by pitches on both legs, feet, back, arms and elbow this season. His 23 HBPs are the most in the majors.

The 96 mph fastball from Cincinnati Reds rookie Tyler Mahle that struck Harrison on Saturday fractured Harrison's left pinky finger.

"Guys in the dugout said it sounded like it hit my bat," Harrison said. "I told them, 'No, no. That was my hand.' "

On Sunday, Harrison was placed on the 10-day disabled list, which ended his season. Harrison will wear a brace for the next couple of weeks but said surgery won't be necessary.

"I guess the 23rd hit by pitch broke the pinata," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Even though his .272 batting average was his lowest since 2013, Harrison was arguably the Pirates' best position player this season. He posted a .771 OPS with a career-best 16 home runs.

Is there a correlation between Harrison's homer total and his HBP total?

"I see a correlation between (the homers) and me being healthy and being able to get my swing off better than in the past couple of years," Harrison said. "I guess (pitchers) felt the need to throw me in a little bit more, but I don't think it's an excuse. There are other guys around the league who crowd the plate way more than me. Why am I the one to get hit?"

Chris Bostic was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis and will be used in a utility role. Bostic has played in left field (38 games), center (13), right (34), second base (33) and third (six) with Indy.

"Just very recently, the last couple of games, I came back into the infield," Bostic said. "It's always an adjustment going back and forth. I've bounced around a little bit — a little bit of third base, a little bit out outfield — before, but until this year I was mostly second base."

Bostic said he reckoned his career was moving toward being a utility player, so he welcomed the chance to try new spots this year.

"It depends on how you take it," he said. "If you don't want to do it, it makes it more difficult. So, I was open to it, understanding that it's a process. You're not going to be the best ever at a position you've never played before, but you try to get a little bit better every day."

Moroff gets a chance

Harrison's injury creates a chance for Max Moroff to make some starts at second base.

"We were going to hunt some playing time for him, anyway," Hurdle said.

Through Satuday, Moroff had appeared in 33 games but made only 13 starts.

"I embraced (coming off the bench) as my role," Moroff said. "I didn't look at it as a negative thing."

Meadows on DL

Outfielder Austin Meadows was placed on Indy's seven-day DL with a strained oblique, which ends his season and could prevent him from playing in the Dominican Winter League.

"We'll see how he recovers," general manager Neal Huntington said. "It becomes more challenging to place a player (with a DWL team) the closer we get to winter ball."

This is the second year in a row that Meadows, the Pirates' top position player prospect, has ended the season on the DL. A first-round pick in 2013, Meadows has played only one full season in the minors.

Cutch's dropoff

Andrew McCutchen had a .222 average, a .300 on-base percentage and a .283 slugging percentage in August. That's a significant regression from his slash lines June (.411/.505/.689) and July (.322/.434/.667).

"We still see bat speed (and) athleticism," Huntington said. "We still see all the traits we saw in April when he was struggling and we saw in July when he was playing like an MVP again. It's the ebb and flow of the game."

Huntington said a weak finish to the season would not affect whether the club decides to pick up McCutchen's $14.75 option.

"There's nothing Andrew McCutchen will or won't do in September that will impact our decision," Huntington said. "It's a matter of time and how it plays out and what's the best decision for the organization."

Good mix in Indy

When Indy clinched a spot in International League postseason last week, it marked the third time Bostic was on a playoff-bound team.

"It's a pretty cool experience to be able to pop champagne and do some of that other stuff," Bostic said.

Indy will open the best-of-five Governor's Cup semifinals Wednesday against Durham. A big reason for Indy's success so far, Bostic said, is team chemistry.

"I don't think I've ever seen a team of guys who like each other as much as we do down there" Bostic said. "That level can be difficult. Guys are sometimes out for themselves, which everybody still is, to a certain point, but that team, from the beginning of the year, really clicked."

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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