By John Perrotto
September 10, 2002
PITTSBURGH–J.R. House, ranked as the Pirates' top prospect each of the past two years, is going to have to fight through another career setback.
House is scheduled to have Tommy John surgery today, which will not only knock him out of the Arizona Fall League this year but will also keep him out for at least the first half of the 2003 season.
House wanted to make up for a tough 2002 season by playing in the AFL next month. He had been limited to 30 games this year at Double-A Altoona after two abdominal surgeries, one in May and the other in June, to repair a hernia and subsequent scar tissue.
"What a year," House said. "I've had four cortisone shots and now three surgeries. It's disappointing, just a year to forget."
House hit .264-2-11 in 91 at-bats with Altoona this season. He said his elbow has been bothering him since midway through 2001.
"I was really looking at Arizona as my season for this year," House said. "I thought it would be a chance to put all the injuries and frustration of the regular season behind me, finish up on a good note and get ready for next season."
House was the South Atlantic League MVP in 2000 when he hit .348-23-90 for Class A Hickory, but he slipped to .258-11-56 at Altoona in 2001.
"Everyone says I'm young and not to get down about what's happened," said House, 22. "But I'm not as young as I used to be. I need to make my move pretty soon and I need to get healthy."