Sounds like it was a wild game in San Francisco. Stephen Strasburg had a filthy changeup working and allowed only one run over seven, but the Giants came back. The first big hit: Gregor Blanco tripling in a run in the ninth. The bigger hit: Pablo Sandoval hitting a two-run homer to walk it off in the tenth. The ball went 464 friggin’ feet.
But about that Blanco triple, get this:
Watch the play. Harper has a long way to run and a lot of guys likely miss that ball. But Harper does do a bit of a weird short-arm hop as the ball is getting to him. It’s hard to tell from the angle exactly how close he was to it. It’s possible that he just knew he was short and decided to cut off a leap and just get to the ball. But it’s also possible that, yes, he was feeling the wall, even though he wasn’t really close to it.
All of this, however, seems to be way less about fear vs. reckless abandon and more about Harper needing to get some confidence about where he is on the field at an unfamiliar park at any given time. I know the legend of his collision in Dodger Stadium is that he was sacrificing his body because he goes Mach 2 with his hair on fire all the time, but the fact is that he just didn’t know that he was that close to the fence. Same thing here.
So Bryce: don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re not going to Triple-A. You’ve had a bad week on a crappy road trip. Get some reps and confidence on balls back over you head and get beyond this.
Twins’ right-hander Nick Burdi is set to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the team announced on Friday. Burdi made 14 appearances for Double-A Chattanooga before succumbing to a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is not expected to make his major league debut until mid-2018 at the earliest. A UCL tear doesn’t always require Tommy John surgery — less severe cases can be treated with platelet-rich plasma injections, for example — but Twins’ chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told the press that surgery was unavoidable as Burdi had sustained a “full thickness tear” in his elbow.
Entering the 2016 season, Burdi was widely considered a top ten prospect in the Twins’ system. His exceptional velocity and potent fastball-slider combo made him a fearsome relief option as he came off of his first season in Double-A Chattanooga in 2015. During the 2016 season, however, the 24-year-old experienced a significant setback after a bone bruise cut his season short in late July. Prior to Friday’s diagnosis, he appeared to be staging an impressive comeback with the Chattanooga Lookouts this spring, decorating his efforts with a sparkling 0.53 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.6 SO/9 over 17 innings.
It’s a tough break for the Twins, whose farm system was ranked 21st in the league by Baseball America. “Obviously he’s proven when he’s healthy he’s an absolute premium prospect, and the Twins are treating him that way,” Burdi’s agent, Matt Sosnick, told Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. “We just want to make sure everything we do ultimately leads to the goal of getting him back on the field as quickly as he can.”
Things have gone from bad to worse for Red Sox’ outfielder Brock Holt, who was shut down “for the foreseeable future” on Friday after meeting with head trauma specialist Michael Collins. The Red Sox placed Holt on the 10-day disabled list in April after he began experiencing vertigo, the latest in a series of head injuries he’s sustained since last spring.
According to the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato, the outfielder was initially advised to attempt playing through his symptoms, but it quickly became apparent that the strategy wasn’t going to work. Now, the plan is to shut him down from any game activity in the hopes that he’ll be able to recover from all lingering symptoms before returning to the roster. Club manager John Farrell told reporters that the 28-year-old is still cleared to take batting practice and work on his defense, but won’t continue his rehab starts in Triple-A Pawtucket for the time being.
Holt had been making regular appearances for the Pawtucket Red Sox and was batting .209/.292/.372 with two home runs through 14 games this spring. This season marks his fifth run within the Red Sox’ organization. He experienced a bit of a slump at the plate in 2016 and slashed .255/.322/.383 after breaking out during his first All-Star year in 2015.
Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe suggests that the team’s concern for Holt extends past his setbacks at the plate. It’s still a long road to a full recovery, and while Farrell told reporters he believes the outfielder is on track to make a return sometime in 2017, he’ll need to make sure that Holt is both physically and mentally prepared to do so.