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Jung Ho Kang has surgery on torn meniscus, broken tibia; out 6-8 months

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates rookie shortstop Jung Ho Kang suffered a broken left leg and torn knee ligament in Thursday's 9-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs and will miss the rest of the regular season and postseason.

Kang underwent surgery Thursday night at Allegheny General Hospital to repair a torn left lateral meniscus and fractured tibia, the result of a takeout slide at second base by Chris Coghlan. The Pirates said Kang is expected to be out six to eight months, meaning he could miss the start of the 2016 season.

Kang was helped off the field by two members of the training staff and replaced by Jordy Mercer after Coghlan slid into him while unsuccessfully trying to break up a double play.

"It's an unfortunate circumstance," Coghlan said. "I hate that he's hurt. I really do. I sent him over a letter. I hope he's OK."

Coghlan, involved in a similar sequence that injured former Tampa Bay infielder Akinori Iwamura in 2009, added, "You never want to injure anybody. At the same time, you have to play the game hard."

Kang declined to place blame on Coghlan in a statement released through agent Alan Nero.

"It is unfortunate that what would be considered heads up baseball would cause such a serious injury," Kang said. "That said, Coghlan was playing the game the way it should be played. I'm confident he meant me no harm. I appreciate everyone's support."

The news made headlines in Kang's home country. News1, a Korean news organization, described Coghlan's slide as a "murderous tackle."

Cubs manager Joe Maddon called Coghlan's slide "a good, hard baseball play."

Kang, the first position player to directly make the jump from the Korean Baseball Organization to the majors, hit .287 with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs in 126 games for Pittsburgh, which leads the Cubs by two games in the chase for the top NL wild card.

"Send our teammate Jung Ho Kang prayers," Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen tweeted Thursday night. "Heal up Chingu (friend). We got u. Best believe that."

Pittsburgh won the rights to sign Kang during the offseason and he agreed to a four-year, $11 million contract. After a slow start, he quickly rediscovered the stroke that helped him become MVP of the KBO in 2014, when he mashed 40 homers.

"He was the baddest dude over there, by far," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said in June. "There was separation. He didn't come over here and say, 'I hope I'm going to be a bad dude over here.' He came over here with the intent to play, to play well and work his way into whatever he is going to work his way into and make a difference on our team in this league."

Information from ESPNChicago.com's Jesse Rogers and The Associated Press was used in this report.