Some bad news late tonight coming out of the Rays organization. Prized shortstop Hak-Ju Lee was involced in a collision at second base during the first game of a double header between Norfolk and Durham on Saturday. Both the runner, Norfolk’s Travis Ishikawa, and Lee were removed from the game.Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Tompkin provides the grim update on Lee via twitter:
#Rays SS prospect Hak-Ju Lee tore ligaments in left knee in rough 2B collision in Durham game, likely done for season
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 21, 2013
Lee was 1-for-2 before the injury to raise his average to a blistering .422 on the young season.
It’s too early to know exactly what kind of timetable we are looking at for Lee, who is in his first season at Triple-A. A consensus Top-100 prospect, Lee won’t turn 23 until November, so as long as he can come back healthy, this injury doesn’t have to derail his career, though it certainly is serious enough that it could.Lee’s game is predicated primarily on an elite glove and plus speed and knee injuries tend to sap both range and quickness.
I’d guess (but that’s really all this is) that he will be ready to resume baseball activites by the time Spring Training opens up in 2014, but if the timetable runs to a full year, it could be into the regular season before Lee can resume his career.
At the very least, this injury means that Lee is now very unlikely to be playing for the Rays as next season begins, which is something I felt was well within the realm of possibilities for him.
UPDATE: Rays Index has video of the collision.