Bucs first baseman Josh Bell had left knee surgery today to remove a loose body, the Pirates announced. Bell had been experiencing discomfort in the knee in workouts. The Bucs estimate that Bell can return to baseball activities in two to four weeks, but caution that it’s unclear whether he’ll be ready for Opening Day.
If he isn’t, the Pirates can of course have John Jaso and/or David Freese play in Bell’s place until he’s ready to return. It’s hard to say how the injury will affect his game going forward, although the timeline of two to four weeks doesn’t make it sound particularly serious (although Bell has had left knee trouble in the past).
The real shame is that, as long and boring as Spring Training is, Bell is exactly the sort of player who might have benefited most from stress-free workouts and games in the Florida sun — last season made clear that he still has a lot of work to do defensively. If he doesn’t make a speedy recovery, it’s easy to imagine the Pirates won’t rush him back to the big leagues, on the grounds that he could use at least a couple weeks of game action before taking over first base in the big leagues.