Pirates prospect House has surgery

By John Perrotto
May 17, 2002

After six months of struggling with a strained abdominal muscle, Pittsburgh Pirates catching prospect J.R. House has had the problem corrected with surgery.

House, ranked as the Pirates’ top prospect, underwent surgery Wednesday. He has appeared in just 10 games for the Pirates’ Double-A Altoona farm club, hitting .243-0-2 in 37 at bats.

House, 22, originally suffered the injury while lifting weights in December. He was slowed in spring training by the injury and did not get any at bats in major-league camp before being reassigned to the minor-league camp.

“Actually, surgery was good news,” House said. “I’m glad we were able to get it fixed.”

The Pirates originally feared House, who had three anti-inflammatory injections before finally succumbing to surgery, would miss the remainder of the season. However, it now appears he should be back in action by July.

“It could be even earlier, depending on how he feels,” Altoona manager Dale Sveum said. “It’s better than him losing the whole season. It’s nice that he’ll hopefully get a couple months of playing time and get something out of the season.”

House is repeating the Double-A level after hitting .258-11-56 in 112 games and 426 at bats last season at Altoona last year. In 2000, House won the South Atlantic League batting and RBI titles while at Class A Hickory, hitting .348-23-90 in 110 games and 420 at bats.