Bryce Harper limited in SAL All-Star Game due to sore left thumb

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Bryce Harper is still expected to start in tonight’s South Atlantic League All-Star Game, but the fans at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Maryland aren’t going to get the show they were hoping for.

Harper is currently nursing a sore left thumb that he jammed back on June 12. He missed four games with the injury, including two prior to the All-Star break and was scratched from tonight’s Home Run Derby.

Hagerstown Suns manager Brian Daubach, who is also managing the North team in tonight’s game, told Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post that Harper will only be limited to a few innings and possibly one at-bat.

Meanwhile, Harper says he should be good to go for the second half of the season, which at this rate will likely include a promotion to Double-A Harrisburg.

“The thumb’s feeling good,” Harper said. “I tried to take those two days off, and I got them, and now there’s time to rest it a little bit and be ready to go.”

Harper has made a mockery of the Sally League thus far, batting .330/.429/.586 with 14 homers, 13 stolen bases and a 1.014 OPS in his first pro season.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”