Back on July 5, Bryce Harper met with 13 year-old fan Gavin Rupp, who had recently been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. It was more than your typical athlete/young fan photo opp, as Harper and Rupp spent over an hour together talking and exchanging gifts. Harper dedicated his Stand Up Against Cancer plaque during the Home Run Derby to Rupp, and was clearly affected by their meeting. And Rupp and his family were clearly happy and moved as well.
This news, however inevitable was, is nonetheless sad:
Gavin Rupp, the hospice patient who threw out the first pitch at Nationals Park earlier this season, died Tuesday afternoon after a three-year fight with brain cancer, a Nationals spokeswoman confirmed. He was 13.
Harper took to Twitter last night:
RIP, Gavin. And F-you, cancer.
The Mets told Jay Bruce that the club plans on having him open the season as the everyday right fielder, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. This comes as no surprise after the Mets failed to get any bites after dangling Bruce as a trade chip. The Mets reportedly wanted a pair of prospects in exchange for Bruce.
With Bruce in right, Yoenis Cespedes back in left, and Curtis Granderson in center, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out. He’ll either warm the bench or head back to Triple-A Las Vegas for regular at-bats.
Bruce, who turns 30 years old in April, had a rough final two months of the 2016 season after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. He hit a paltry .219/.294/.391 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 187 plate appearances. Bruce, apparently, wanted to go anywhere but in New York.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.