Nationals manager Davey Johnson indicated last night that Bryce Harper could get a day or two off after he hit himself in the head with his own bat and required 10 stitches above his left eye, but Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post passes along word that the rookie outfielder is in tonight’s lineup.
While Harper has a nasty welt and an embarrassing story to tell, he didn’t feel dazed after the incident and was cleared by a team doctor. This probably isn’t the last time his emotions will get the best of him. As a 19-year-old in the big leagues, failure and frustration is expected. But hopefully he has learned his lesson. Nationals manager Davey Johnson is a pretty good tutor for the assignment.
Harper went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts last night and is hitting .233/.333/.373 with six doubles, three RBI, a stolen base and a .705 OPS over his first 51 plate appearances in the big leagues.
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.
Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.