Todd Zolecki of MLB.com writes that the Phillies’ right field job is “a three-man race” and “open competition” among Domonic Brown, Ben Francisco, and John Mayberry Jr., but adds that “many suspect Francisco and Brown will platoon to start the season.”
Before he can claim the bulk of the starts Brown has to first win a spot on the Opening Day roster, which is no sure thing for the 23-year-old top prospect. Brown was called up in late July and remained with the Phillies for the final two-plus months of last season, but started just 13 times in 61 games while getting a grand total of 70 plate appearances.
If the Phillies give him a spot on the Opening Day roster he needs to actually play this time around, and with Jayson Werth gone and Francisco representing the only significant veteran competition for starts that should be an easy call for manager Charlie Manuel. Brown didn’t look very good in his first taste of the majors, but that tends to happen when a 22-year-old is getting one start per week and he’s without question one of the elite prospects in all of baseball after hitting .312 with 23 homers, 62 total extra-base hits, and 25 steals in 130 games between Double-A and Triple-A.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.
Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.
The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.
Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.
Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.
Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.