Bryce Harper thought he drew a 3-2 walk in the seventh inning at Double-A last night, but as he headed to first base home plate umpire Max Guyll called him out on strikes and the 18-year-old Nationals uber-prospect angrily slammed his helmet down in disgust.
Guyll immediately ejected him from the game, at which point Harper got in the umpire’s face, screaming and pointing and digging his spikes into the dirt to show where he believed the pitch crossed outside the strike zone.
Chris Knight of the Harrisburg Patriot-News snapped the fantastic face-to-face action photo you see displayed to the left and CSNWashington.com has video that shows the entire incident unfold:
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Obviously this wouldn’t be any kind of story if Harper wasn’t involved, as plenty of minor leaguers are ejected in similar fashions every week, but it does play into some of the negative aspects of his reputation and the incident making headlines is part of the increased attention that comes with being a former No. 1 overall pick and the top prospect in baseball at age 18. Plus, he did kind of freak out.
For more details, check out the game story from the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.
Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.
The Blue Jays completed a four-game series sweep against the Athletics on Thursday afternoon and won their second consecutive game in walk-off fashion. Last night, the Jays went into the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 2-0, but a two-run home run by Justin Smoak followed by a solo home run from Kendrys Morales led to a 3-2 walk-off victory.
Thursday’s game was already interesting enough as starter Marcus Stroman, catcher Russell Martin, and manager John Gibbons were all ejected by home plate umpire Will Little. Despite the adversity, the Jays battled the A’s, tying the game at four apiece when Morales blasted a solo home run — his second of the game — in the bottom of the ninth inning. In the 10th inning, A’s reliever Liam Hendriks walked the bases loaded with two outs to bring up Steve Pearce. Pearce worked the count full before pulling a fastball down the left field line for a walk-off grand slam, giving the Jays an 8-4 victory to complete the sweep.
Before Pearce, the last Jays hitter to hit a walk-off grand slam was Gregg Zaun on September 6, 2008 against the Rays, per SportsNet Stats.