Braves get bad news on Tommy Hanson, Peter Moylan

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It looks like Tommy Hanson and Peter Moylan will join Jair Jurrjens on the sidelines if the Braves are able to hold on to their wild card lead and advance to the NLDS.

Hanson, out since early August with a small tear in his rotator cuff, felt pain in his shoulder blade while working in an instructional league game Friday and exited after two innings.

The hope was that Hanson would go three or four innings today and then start the regular-season finale for the Braves on Wednesday, putting him in line to potentially pitch in the NLDS.  Since Wednesday’s session is out now, it’s hard to imagine the Braves carrying him on their playoff roster.  Perhaps he’ll be a possibility if they advance to the NLCS.

Without Hanson, the Braves would be looking at a postseason rotation of Tim Hudson, Brandon Beachy, Derek Lowe and either Mike Minor or Randall Delgado.

The news was even worse for Moylan, who just returned in early September after missing nearly five months following back surgery.  He was diagnosed with tears in both his rotator cuff and labrum.  He’ll see Dr. James Andrews before a decision is made on whether to operate.

Moylan was almost certainly going to be on the Braves’ postseason roster despite all of the missed time.  His innings could instead go to Cristhian Martinez and Arodys Vizcaino.

Bryce Harper will not be discussing his impending free agency with the media

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Bryce Harper is entering his walk year and it is widely expected that the Scott Boras client will, indeed, test out free agency next fall rather than engage in any substantial way with the Washington Nationals about a contract extension. There were some “casual conversations” between the parties in the early fall of 2017, but the Nats came away from that, quite reasonably, believing that Harper, who stands to land the largest contract in baseball history, will shop around.

For his part, Harper met the media on his first day of spring training workouts and let everyone know that, no, he does not plan to answer questions about his potential free agency every day between now and November. From MASN:

“Just want to let you guys know I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all,” said Harper. “I’m focused on this year. I’m focused on winning and playing hard, like every single year. So if you guys have any questions about anything after 2018, you can call Scott and he can answer you guys.”

Makes sense. The alternative would be for Harper to give the same canned “I’m only focused on our next game” responses in front of his locker 150 times this summer, and that doesn’t serve anyone.

Thinking back to any other impending free agent’s comments about his free agency, I can’t remember a story along those lines which was worth much of anything. The genre generally consists of headlines which oversell an innocuous or offhand comment from a player as a means of guessing where his head is at with respect to his current team. I can’t think of any story in which a player, during his walk year, said something that concretely and definitively signaled his intensions in free agency one way or the other.

Reporters covering the Nationals who are curious as to how Harper feels about his current team at any given time would be better served just observing and inferring, with particular attention paid to how Harper and his teammates view the Nats’ competitive position as the season goes on, how they react to trades and stuff like that. There’s a lot of guesswork in all of that, but it sure beats trying to get a media savvy player like Harper to admit, after going 1-for-4 against the Phillies, where he plans to spend the next seven to ten years of his professional life.