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Erik González undergoes surgery on left foot

@JakeCrouseMLB
November 13, 2019

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates announced on Wednesday that infielder Erik González underwent surgery to repair a fractured first ray in his left foot. The procedure was performed Wednesday by Dr. James Sferra at Allegheny General Hospital. González, who sustained the injury while playing in the Domincan Winter League, is expected

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates announced on Wednesday that infielder Erik González underwent surgery to repair a fractured first ray in his left foot.

The procedure was performed Wednesday by Dr. James Sferra at Allegheny General Hospital. González, who sustained the injury while playing in the Domincan Winter League, is expected to fully resume baseball activities in 10-12 weeks. That timeline means González should be healthy by the end of January, just in time for Spring Training.

The Pirates acquired González in a November 2018 trade with the Indians, largely for his defensive upside. He started at shortstop on Opening Day in Pittsburgh, but he played only 53 games due to a left clavicle fracture that kept him off the active roster for nearly four months. His .618 OPS last season was the lowest mark of his four-year MLB career, but he finished strong with a .322 batting average in 20 September contests.

Thankfully for the Pirates, the club has depth at shortstop in case González’s injury lingers into Spring Training. Kevin Newman spent the bulk of 2019 playing shortstop, and his offensive production rose from his rookie campaign in ‘18, leading to a .308/.353/.446 slash line in 130 games. Shortstop Cole Tucker needs to improve his bat, but he got MLB reps last season and demonstrated solid defense.

In fact, González will need to show a lot in Spring Training to earn a starting spot anywhere across the Pirates’ infield. Outside of the shortstop competition, second baseman Adam Frazier ended his 2019 campaign with an .866 OPS in September and Colin Moran played 149 games and produced the third-most RBIs on the team (80) while regularly batting in the five- and six-holes. Even if blocked out of a starting spot, González would still provide good value as a utility infielder.

Jake Crouse is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh. Follow him on Twitter @JakeCrouseMLB.