ATLANTA -- The rookie professional season of Josh Bell, the Pirates' big score in last June's First-Year Player Draft, has come to a sudden halt with an injury to his left knee. Bell underwent surgery Friday to repair the meniscus in the knee. The surgery, performed in Pittsburgh by Dr. Patrick DeMeo, is expected to sideline the outfielder for much of the Minor League season. The 19-year-old was playing with West Virginia in the Class A South-Atlantic League and felt discomfort in the knee while running the bases in a Tuesday game against Savannah. He was removed from the game, and ensuing examinations revealed the injury.
Bell, a multisport standout in Dallas, was regarded prior to the Draft as a tough sign. But the Bucs used their second-round pick on him and were able to reach an agreement after offering him a $5 million signing bonus. In 15 games with the Power, Bell was batting .274, with one home run and 11 RBIs in 62 at-bats. He also had 21 strikeouts. Bell is expected to soon go to Bradenton and begin his rehab at Pirate City. The Pirates anticipate him being able to return to action later in the season.