Pirates SS/2B prospect Jarek Cunningham will have knee surgery due to a torn ACL and will miss the entire 2009 season. This is not a new injury for Cunningham. Here is an excerpt from Baseball America’s 2009 Prospect Handbook:
Cunningham missed his senior high school season in 2008 because of a knee injury, which caused him to slip to the 18th round of the draft. Doctors originally thought he had torn his anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus, yet when he went in for surgery they found the ACL had reattached itself.
The Pirates took a bit of a risk when they drafted Cunningham amid uncertainty about his knee, and it is a shame he will lose a year of development. But he just turned 19, giving him plenty of time to fully recover and get back on schedule. He still has a bright future in the organization, even if it is delayed by a year. I have spent the winter rehabbing from ACL surgery myself, so I have an idea of what Cunningham is about to go through. With a little luck, he may be able to play a little winter ball after the season, although the Pirates may decide to be cautious with his recovery. I don’t have any knowledge of his specific injury, but I’m not worried about it having any long-term effect on his performance.