Bryce Harper joined Ken Griffey Jr., Andruw Jones, and B.J. Upton as the only 19-year-olds to bat third in a big-league game since 1980, but now he’s on the move in the Nationals’ lineup again.
Harper, who debuted as a No. 7 hitter before shifting to the No. 3 slot, is batting No. 2 tonight because Ryan Zimmerman is off the disabled list and back is his usual third spot.
Using that same since-1980 cutoff, the only previous 19-year-olds to bat second in an MLB game are Edgar Renteria, Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre, Jones, Griffey, and Upton. Not quite as exclusive in terms of company, but Harper is once again linked with some pretty big names.
The Indians have signed free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal. The pact is pending a physical.
Cabrera, 33, went unsigned this past offseason after putting up a season of .285/.324/.423 with 17 homers and 85 RBI with the White Sox and the Royals.
Cabrera will report to Columbus once he passes his physical and, according to Paul Hoynes, there are no guarantees being made to him that he’ll get playing time. That said, the Indians aren’t getting much outfield production from anyone besides Michael Brantley, and Cabrera’s status as a switch hitter would give Terry Francona some flexibility, so it would not be shocking to see him on the big club after some reps in the minors.