Ejected and suspended, Bryce Harper's college career likely over

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Next week Bryce Harper will be the No. 1 pick in the draft, but last night the 17-year-old phenom may have seen his junior college career come to a premature end by getting ejected for arguing a called third strike.
Unhappy with a fifth-inning strikeout during the National Junior College World Series, the soon-to-be Washington National took his bat and drew a line in the batter’s box where he thought the pitch crossed, at which point the home plate umpire tossed him.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the ejection would normally carry a one-game suspension, but because Harper was also ejected once during the regular season the suspension is increased to two games. At most his Southern Nevada team could have three games remaining this season, but they’ll have to win twice without Harper to make it to the junior college championship game and have him available.
In the grand scheme of things a player being ejected from a game for arguing balls and strikes is certainly not a big deal, but Harper’s maturity and makeup have long been in question. His coach, Tim Chambers, naturally defended Harper, saying he was wrongfully ejected by “an umpire with an attitude” and calling it “an awfully quick trigger … on a stage like this, in this environment.”
I’ll say this about Harper: In terms of the hit his reputation will take from the ejection and suspension, he sure picked a great time to have a run-in with an umpire.
UPDATE: Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com has video of the ejection, so you can judge for yourself.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

Associated Press
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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.