Jarrod Saltalamacchia hospitalized for lower leg infection

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Jarrod Saltalamacchia may have conquered his throwing problems at Triple-A, but it took him only a week with the Red Sox to get hit with the same injury bug that has tried to wreck Boston’s season.
Saltalamacchia, who was acquired from the Rangers on July 31 and called up from Triple-A last week, has been hospitalized for what the team is calling “an unknown infection in his lower right leg.”
He’s been placed on the disabled list, with Dusty Brown coming up from Triple-A to serve as Victor Martinez’s backup behind the plate. Terry Francona told Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal that Saltalamacchia is being tested for staph infection, among other things.

I think we thought it would be a quick look and he’d be back. An hour turned into two and three and he ended up getting back right about game time. It’s my understanding that they’ve eliminated the MRSA but they’re waiting on some blood tests to come back on the staph.

Between last year’s surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and this year’s battle with the yips Saltalamacchia has already had an amazing number of roadblocks thrown in front of him, so hopefully this proves to be a minor setback.

The Nationals expect Bryce Harper to test free agency

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Earlier this week at the Winter Meetings, Scott Boras said that he and the Washington Nationals had had preliminary discussions about a contract extension for Bryce Harper. Harper, of course, can become a free agent following the 2018 season and is widely expected to command the largest contract in baseball history.

While that may have given some Nationals fans hope that no other team would get the chance to bid on him, the Nationals are of the view that they have no shot to sign Harper before he at least tests the free agent market. From USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:

A lot of this seems like mutual posturing, doesn’t it? Boras trying to make it appear as though the he and Harper are giving the Nats a fair hearing and the Nats trying to make it appear as though, no matter what they do, Harper is going to hit the market. I tend to believe, personally, that Boras and Harper are hellbent on testing the market, but it’s possible that there is some number that the Nats can offer to head that off, right? Maybe?

Either way: big year ahead for Harper.