Jedd Gyorko isn’t the only on-fire spring hitter.
Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper — who doesn’t turn 21 years old until October — went 3-for-3 with two doubles Tuesday in the Nationals’ 9-5 Grapefruit League loss to the Braves. Harper is now 6-for-8 (.750) this spring and “taking extra bases at will,” writes Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington.
Harper was supposed to get a routine day off on Wednesday afternoon against the Marlins, but he talked his way into the lineup because both Jayson Werth and Denard Span are playing, and Harper wants to get comfortable with his fellow starters.
“I had him out of the lineup to rest him, and he said: ‘What am I doing out of the lineup? I want in the lineup,'” Nats manager Davey Johnson explained to reporters Tuesday. “I’m already getting it. He’s in.”
Harper batted .270/.340/.477 with 22 home runs, 26 doubles, 18 steals and 59 RBI over his first 139 major league games last season. He carries National League MVP potential into the 2013 campaign.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.
Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.
With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.
Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.
The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.
When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.