Chris Carter is going to be disappointed when the A’s send him to Triple-A

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A’s prospect Chris Carter told Jane Lee of MLB.com that he’s hoping to win a spot on the Opening Day roster despite a very crowded outfield/designated hitter picture following the offseason additions of David DeJesus, Josh Willingham, and Hideki Matsui.

At the end [of last season] I thought I could be their guy coming in and making the team. Now, it’s definitely more of a competition. I don’t know my chances now of making the team with the signing of new players. I’d like to think I’m going into camp with an opportunity to make the team. We’ll see how it turns out.

He’s going to be disappointed. Daric Barton is locked in at first base, Matsui was signed to a one-year, $4.25 million deal to start at designated hitter, and the starting outfield is pretty much set with Willingham and DeJesus flanking Coco Crisp. Unless the A’s decide to keep the 24-year-old Carter around as a bench bat and platoon starter he’s destined for a second straight season at Triple-A.

In fact, A’s director of baseball operations Fahran Zaidi all but admitted that they have him slated for the minors when talking to Melissa Lockard of Scout.com:

Going out and getting David DeJesus and Josh Willingham is not an indictment of what we think of Chris Carter. He’s a guy who is still very much a part of our long-term plans and a guy we are still very much excited about. We just think that he could use a little more seasoning after hitting .258 in Triple-A.

Carter could also use a lot more practice as an outfielder, because after playing mostly first base in the minors the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder looked absolutely brutal in 156 innings there for the A’s and Barton seemingly isn’t going anywhere at first base.

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.

Indians to move Danny Salazar to the bullpen

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MLB.com’s William Kosileski reports that Indians starter Danny Salazar is being moved to the bullpen and will be available as soon as Wednesday or Thursday. The Indians will go on a five-game road strip starting on June 2, and manager Terry Francona said that Salazar could get a start during that trip.

Salazar, 27, has struggled to a 5.50 ERA over his first 10 starts this season. While none of those starts were absolute disasters, he failed to finish the sixth inning in seven of those 10 starts. It’s a far cry from his performance over the last two seasons, when he finished with a 3.45 ERA and 3.87 ERA.

Salazar’s walk rate is up to a career-high 11.9 percent, per FanGraphs, and he’s allowing many more line drives at the expense of ground balls. Compared to 2016, his line drive rate is up 8.9 percent and his ground ball rate is down 10.4 percent. All of that could explain Salazar’s struggles to some extent.