Pirates lose prospect Jarek Cunningham for year
Pirates infield prospect Jarek Cunningham tore his ACL during a conditioning drill at Pirate City on Saturday and is now going to miss the entire 2009 season. The 19-year-old infielder was considered one of the organization’s more promising prospects, evidenced by the fact that he was ranked the 13th best prospect in the organization by Baseball America heading into the 2009 season.
Cunningham, an 18th-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player’s Draft, is going to first undergo rehab work on his left knee and will then have surgery to repair the torn ligament. That surgery has not yet been scheduled.
After signing with the Pirates last summer, Cunningham hit .318 with five homers and 22 RBIs in 43 games for the Gulf Coast League Pirates. Initially drafted as a shortstop, Cunningham played 11 games at shortstop and 26 games at third.
However, because the Pirates were so high on his talent, farm director Kyle Stark said earlier this spring that Cunningham was going to get significant time at second base this year so that he could get everyday at-bats. The Pirates have a plethora of shortstops and third baseman in the lower levels of their Minor League system.
Cunningham was already pegged to start the season at the low Single-A affiliate in West Virginia.