Tucker lost 4-6 weeks to injury

By Matt Michelone

For the Mirror

Altoona Curve shortstop Cole Tucker’s 2017 season has likely come to a close.

The Pirates’ No. 9 overall prospect according to Baseball America will be out 4-6 weeks with a broken left hand.

Tucker broke the hand while attempting to steal third base in the second inning of the Curve’s game 2 win over the Baysox Friday night.

“He was our heart and soul,” Curve manager Michael Ryan said. “He’s an unbelievable leader. He was playing so well, it’s not a coincidence that we ended the year pretty good, and carried that momentum in the playoffs. He has a lot do with that.”

Tucker has been stronger as of late at the plate, hitting .257 with two home runs, 18 RBIs and 11 stolen bases since he was promoted to Altoona on July 20. He was 3-for-5 in the first two games of the series.

That injury opens the door for the return of Kevin Kramer who has been on the disabled list since June 11 with a right-hand fracture.

Traditionally, Kramer couldn’t return because he was not on the Curve’s roster for the start of the Bowie series. He is eligible because of Tucker’s injury.

Kramer — the Pirates No. 3 prospect according to Baseball America — was swinging a hot bat before the injury, hitting .297 with six homers and 27 RBIs in 53 games with an OPS of .880.

The second baseman had been rehabbing with the GCL Pirates and the short season-A West Virginia Black Bears over Labor Day weekend. His stay in West Virginia ended this past Wednesday.

Ryan said he knew there was a possibility they were going to get Kramer back, and that he was going to be available to them for the Eastern League Championship Series. He ended up on the roster Saturday following Tucker’s injury.

Kramer was 3-for-13 with 2 RBIs with the Bears while knocking in a run in his appearance with the GCL Pirates.