Bryce Harper finally admitted to having a hip injury yesterday, so manager Davey Johnson gave him the game off, and the Nationals outfielder also admitted to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com that he’s been playing hurt since slamming into the outfield wall in Atlanta in late April:
Ever since I hit the wall, pretty much every day I feel something different. Or something will feel better, and then something else hurts. It’s pretty much just the left side of my body. That’s what hurts me right now. … But the last time I probably felt pretty good was that first month.
At the time of the collision Harper was hitting .344 with a 1.150 OPS in 26 games. Since the collision Harper has hit .250 with a .792 OPS in 74 games. Obviously he was likely to come back to earth after posting a 1.150 OPS in April whether he was injured or healthy, but Harper’s production since the calendar flipped to May has actually been worse than his rookie numbers and within that time frame he also missed more than a month with another injury caused by an outfield wall collision in Los Angeles.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.