CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon has a message for anyone who thinks Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan’s slide at second base which ended Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang’s season on Thursday was dirty.
"Anybody that wants to go there, you don’t know the game at all,” Maddon said Friday morning. “It’s unfortunate that it happened but there’s no apologies necessary. It was a good baseball play.”
Maddon's sentiments echo his from the day before when Coghlan slid hard to break up a double-play attempt in the first inning of the Cubs' eventual 9-6 win over the Pirates. He collided with Kang, who stood his ground to make the play. Kang immediately left the game in pain and needed surgery to repair a displaced lateral tibial plateau fracture (leg) and lateral meniscus (knee).
“It’s a tough game,” Maddon said. “There are a lot of hard plays. That’s just a hard play and it’s unfortunate that he got injured.”
Coghlan blamed the injury on circumstance as a slow grounder caused the late developing double play. It’s not the first time Coghlan has been involved in an injury on a slide at second base as former Tampa Bay Ray Akinori Iwamura was injured badly after Coghlan slid into him back in 2009. Maddon was Iwamura’s manager at the time.
"If anything, it might have been a little bit late,” Maddon said back in 2009 according to the Tampa Bay Times.
But both then and now, most observers, including Maddon, believe it’s a baseball play which happens often, though most slides don’t cause injury.
“That’s going to be a difficult recovery,” Maddon said. “He’s very important to their team. We wish him well.”