According to Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com, Nationals manager Davey Johnson just confirmed what most of us already assumed. Bryce Harper, who suffered a right hamstring strain while running the bases in a game with Double-A Harrisburg last night, will likely be shut down for the rest of the season.
“He probably won’t play the rest of the year, as far as I know,” Johnson said. “There’s only a few days left. You take a chance of aggravating it, and it becomes more of a serious injury.”
Of course, saying “shut down for the season” sounds pretty harsh, but missing the final two and a half weeks of the minor league schedule really isn’t a big deal. The Nationals haven’t given an official update on his condition yet, but if they rest him now, there’s still a very good chance he’ll be ready to play in the Arizona Fall League in October. Missing that would be a shame.
Harper, 18, made a mockery of the Sally League to begin the season, batting .318/.423/.554 with 14 home runs and a .977 OPS with Class A Hagerstown, but has looked his age against more advanced competition, batting .256/.329/.395 with three homers and a .724 OPS over 147 plate appearances since being promoted to Double-A Harrisburg in early July. Still, quite a debut for the 2010 No. 1 overall pick.
UPDATE: Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that Harper is being placed on the seven-day disabled list with Double-A Harrisburg. Not ruled out for the rest of the season yet, but it’s still highly unlikely he’ll return.
The Yankees signed first-round draft pick Clarke Schmidt and second-round pick Matt Sauer on Saturday, per a team announcement. Schmidt, a right-hander from the University of South Carolina, is set to earn a signing bonus of $2,184,300. According to MLB.com’s Oliver Macklin, that’s much lower than the typical $3+ million allocated for a No. 16 overall pick. The opposite is true for Sauer, whose projected $2.5 million signing bonus tops the suggested $1.2 million reserved for a No. 54 pick.
Schmidt, 21, boasts an impressive four-pitch repertoire and profiles as a front-end or mid-rotation starter, according to reports from Yankees’ VP of Domestic Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer and ESPN’s Keith Law, among others. He carried a 4-2 record through nine starts in 2017 and turned in a 1.34 ERA before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery last month to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow. While the Yankees won’t see him pitch at any level until late 2018, they seem confident in his makeup and ability to rebound over the next couple of years.
Fellow right-hander and Righetti High School senior Matt Sauer is a different story altogether. The 18-year-old hurler appears destined for the bullpen with a polished fastball-slider combo and a promising curveball and changeup. He dazzled on the mound this year, going 9-1 with an 0.98 ERA and two shutouts over 78 1/3 innings. While the Yankees seem most interested in his pitching skills, Sauer showed some pop at the plate as well, touting a .427 average with 24 RBI through 135 plate appearances.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.