Bryce Harper cranks it up to 11 in GQ interview

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Will Leitch interviewed Bryce Harper for GQ, and the interview just went live.  It’s fantastic.  If for no other reason than the picture of Harper with a baseball in his mouth right at the top.

But it can also be summed up with Leitch’s observation that “Harper seems to have emerged fully formed to piss off the baseball establishment.”

Highlights:

  • “When I hit the ball…I do want to hurt it … I want to play the game hard. I want to ram it down your throat, put you into left field when I’m going into second base.”
  • “Playing football… I’m getting chills just thinking about it. That first knock of the game, you are going on kickoff and you are just trying to smack somebody just as hard as you can. That’s how I play baseball. I want to hit you. I want to run your ass over. Sorry.”
  • “baseball needs more superstars.”
  • And a quote from Mike Schmidt:  “I would think at some point the game itself, the competition on the field, is going to have to figure out a way to police this young man.”

Harper is one of the most interesting young players to have emerged in my lifetime.  If he lives up to the hype — or even comes close to living up to it — he’s going to be one of the most astounding things the game has ever seen. Pete Rose meets Muhammad Ali, maybe.

And if he doesn’t, God help the guy who has to do the article in which a 30-something Harper talks about how full of piss and vinegar he was when he was 19 and how he wishes he hadn’t said some of the things he said.

For now, though: Mercy. I’m kinda excited.

Shelby Miller will undergo Tommy John surgery

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Last we heard from Shelby Miller, the Diamondbacks’ right-hander was contemplating Tommy John surgery for a partial UCL tear in his right elbow. Now, he appears to have decided to go through with the procedure.

Miller decided to skip Tommy John alternatives like plasma-rich platelet injections or stem cell treatment, which have been used to varying degrees of success by other major league pitchers with similar injuries. The surgery will set him back an estimated 12-18 months, FanRag Sports’ Tommy Stokke reports, which puts Miller’s estimated return date somewhere in 2018 if all goes well.

The 26-year-old starter was off to a rocky start this season, posting a 2-2 record and 4.09 ERA through 22 innings and striking out just 20 of 99 batters faced. This was his sophomore campaign in Arizona after muddling through the 2016 season with a 3-12 record, 6.15 ERA and 0.5 fWAR over 101 innings with the club.

Steven Souza Jr. exits game after injuring his hand on a hit by pitch

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Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.

While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.

Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.