Will the Yankees wait for Nick Johnson to get healthy?

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Nick Johnson has started to work his way back from mid-May wrist surgery, but Brian Costello of the New York Post reports that the oft-injured designated hitter “is still a few weeks away from playing in a game” at extended spring training.
So far Johnson has simply begun hitting off a tee and given his lengthy injury history “a few weeks” could easily turn into a few months, as he’s played in more than 100 games just four times in nine full seasons as a major leaguer.
Signed to replace Johnny Damon in the Yankees’ lineup, Johnson hit just .167 in 24 games before going on the DL, although the low batting average did come with his usual outstanding plate discipline and he got on base at an impressive .388 clip thanks to twice as many walks (24) as hits (12).
Eight different players have started at DH while Johnson has been sidelined. Jorge Posada leads the way with 19 starts and Alex Rodriguez is second with seven, so the Yankees have taken advantage of Johnson’s injury by using the DH spot to rest their other banged-up veterans. However, if he suffers a setback it seems likely that they would be in the market for a big bat before July 31, so the next couple weeks are crucial for Johnson.

Nationals do not activate Bryce Harper for Monday’s game

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The Nationals were expected to activate outfielder Bryce Harper from the 10-day disabled list in advance of Monday’s series opener in Philadelphia, but they did not because Harper woke up with flulike symptoms, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reports. It doesn’t have anything to do with the knee injury which sent him to the DL last month or the ensuing rehab, he adds.

Rain had fallen in Washington, D.C. on August 12 ahead of the Nationals’ game against the Giants. Harper attempted to beat out a ground out to first base but slipped on the wet first base bag and was later diagnosed with a bone bruise in his left knee.

Harper was in the midst of a great season prior to the injury, perhaps one that would have led to an NL MVP Award. When he comes back, he’ll do what he can to pad his .326/.419/.614 slash line along with 29 home runs, 87 RBI, and 92 runs scored in 472 plate appearances. The Nationals are just concerned with getting him back in the flow of things in time for the playoffs. They have seven games remaining in the regular season.

Chris Archer on joining Bruce Maxwell’s protest: “I don’t think it would be the best thing to do for me at this time.”

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Rays pitcher Chris Archer doesn’t see himself joining Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell‘s protest any time soon, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports. Archer said, “From the feedback that I’ve gotten from my teammates, I don’t think it would be the best thing to do for me, at this time. I agree with the message. I believe in equality.”

Archer continued, “I don’t want to offend anybody. No matter how you explain it or justify it, some people just can’t get past the military element of it and it’s not something I want to do, is ruffle my teammates’ feathers on my personal views that have nothing to do with baseball.”

Archer did express admiration for the way Maxwell handled his situation. The right-hander said, “The way he went about it was totally, I think, as respectful as possible, just letting everybody know that this doesn’t have anything to do with the military, first and foremost, noting that he has family members that are in the military. It’s a little bit tougher for baseball players to make that leap, but I think he was the right person to do it.”

Maxwell recently became the first baseball player to kneel as the national anthem was sung, a method of protest popularized by quarterback Colin Kaepernick. As Craig explained yesterday, baseball’s hierarchical culture has proven to be a strong deterrent for players to express their unpopular opinions. We can certainly see that in Archer’s justification. Archer was one of 62 African Americans on the Opening Day roster across 30 major league clubs (750 total players, 8.3%).