Bryce Harper had the worst game of his brief major league career during the Nationals’ 7-3 win over the Reds tonight. And it’s not just because he went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.
According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Harper needed 10 stitches above his left eye after slamming his bat up against a wall and having it come back and hit him in the face. Seriously.
Harper took his frustrations out on a wall in the tunnel after grounding out to begin the seventh inning. He remained in the game after the incident and returned to the field in the bottom of the seventh with blood streaking down the side of his face. The picture to the right is from his at-bat in the ninth inning.
The 19-year-old outfielder emerged in the clubhouse after the game with what Kilgore describes as a “golf ball-sized welt” on his forehead and “clumps of blood” in his hair.
“I just got caught up in the moment,” Harper said. “I want to do so well. It just got me.”
Nationals manager Davey Johnson suggested that Harper could sit out one or two games for precautionary reasons, but the precocious rookie doesn’t think he’ll need to miss any time.
Harper obviously let his emotions get the best of him here, which isn’t unusual for a teenager, but the good news is that he managed to avoid serious injury. And hey, at least it inspired Ian Desmond to give him a new nickname. You can now call him “Bam Bam.”
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports that the Mariners have received “strong” trade interest for starter Taijuan Walker. The right-hander is currently on the mend from tendinitis in his right foot. He’ll throw a bullpen on Friday at Wrigley Field with scouts in attendance.
Walker, 23, has a 3.66 ERA with an 80/18 K/BB ratio in 86 innings this season. It’s his first bit of sustained success at the major league level. What’s arguably just as intriguing is the fact that Walker will be under team control through 2020.
The Mariners have been hovering around .500 for the last month and entered Thursday six games behind the first-place Rangers in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot, behind three other teams as well as the two Wild Card leaders. It’s enough uncertainty which could push the Mariners to sell.
On Monday, we learned that the Mets offered to swap catchers with the Brewers, Travis d'Arnaud for Jonathan Lucroy. The Brewers, as expected, turned that down. The two still continue to discuss a trade involving Lucroy, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
The Mets certainly could use some help at catcher. The club has gotten an aggregate .608 OPS from their backstops, the fourth-lowest mark in baseball, ahead of only the Pirates, Rays, and Indians. However, the Mets seem to be behind other teams — including a “mystery” team — in the bidding, according to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball.
Lucroy, who took Thursday off, is batting .300/.361/.486 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI in 371 plate appearances for the Brewers this season. He can become a free agent after the season if his controlling club opts against picking up his $5.25 million option for the 2017 season.