Good news, people: Bryce Harper is not fragile.
According to beat writer Amanda Comak of the Washington Times, the 19-year-old outfielder is back in the Nationals’ starting lineup on Sunday afternoon against the Braves despite departing the first half of Saturday’s doubleheader because of an ankle bruise that he suffered on a first-inning foul tip.
It looked like a painful injury, but he singled as a pinch-hitter in Game 2 on Saturday night and was only displaying a slight limp as he ran to first base.
Harper is hitting .270/.341/.442 with eight home runs, 12 stolen bases, 26 RBI and 47 runs scored through the first 73 games of his major league career. He will bat second in Sunday’s series-finale with Atlanta.
Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.
When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.
Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.