Marcano (right knee) to undergo season-ending surgery

Cruz (fractured left fibula) progressing slowly but will join team in Milwaukee

August 2nd, 2023

PITTSBURGH -- Following an extensive examination and collaboration with experts in the medical field, the Pirates determined that infielder will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn right anterior cruciate ligament.

Marcano will have the procedure in the coming weeks. Prior to the surgery, the Pirates want to reduce the swelling in Marcano’s knee and ensure he’s as close as possible to a normal range of motion. The team has yet to determine who will perform the operation.

“You see [ACL surgery] in other sports a lot,” said Pirates director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk. “It’s not super common in baseball, but with an ACL surgery to the right knee ... there’s a certain amount of prehab that goes into it.”

The 23-year-old sustained the injury in the fifth inning of the Pirates’ 8-4 win over the Padres in San Diego on July 24, awkwardly stepping on third base and immediately collapsing. Marcano remained on the ground clutching his knee before he was helped off the field by head athletic trainer Rafael Freitas and assistant athletic trainer Tony Leo. Marcano was unable to put pressure on his right leg as he walked off the field.

Marcano hit .233/.276/.356 in 75 games this season, with three home runs, five steals and a 71 OPS+. On the other side of the ball, Marcano had three defensive runs saved across 89 2/3 innings at second base but -8 defensive runs saved in 390 innings at shortstop.

Marcano will be the fourth Pirate this season to undergo season-ending surgery, joining right-handers JT Brubaker and Mike Burrows (right UCL reconstruction), and right-hander Vince Velasquez (assessing damage to right UCL).

“You definitely feel for him,” manager Derek Shelton said. “When someone goes down and then they have to have surgery like that. ... I think we knew when he went down in San Diego that it was something that was going to be prolonged. You definitely feel for a young guy when he goes through something like that.”

Cruz continues to make progress
, who hasn’t played since April 9 due to a fractured left fibula, will travel with the Pirates to Milwaukee this weekend for their four-game series against the Brewers to continue his rehab.

“We felt it was important for him to continue the reps with [Major League physical therapist] Seth [Steinhauer] and team, our rehab team and, notably, the hitting department,” Tomczyk said.

Cruz has started participating in more baseball activities over the past couple of weeks, but he remains limited in the scope of activities he can perform. Hitting-wise, Cruz is still limited to soft toss, but he is playing catch out to about 120 feet. He is also “quasi running,” per Tomczyk, which includes ballistic-type movements and dynamic warmups, but he has yet to begin a formal running program.

The Pirates were originally hopeful Cruz would return in August, but given that he has yet to progress beyond light hitting and light throwing, that now seems unlikely. When asked about the likelihood of Cruz beginning a rehab assignment in August, Tomczyk said it’s a “possibility.”