Bryce Harper sure seems excited to return to the Nationals’ active roster after missing the past two months following April 29 surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb.
The 21-year-old outfielder went 4-for-5 with three home runs and five RBI on Saturday night at Double-A Harrisburg, helping the Senators to a 10-4 rout of the Indians’ Eastern League affiliate. Harper is now 9-for-14 (.643) with four homers, a double, and 11 RBI on his five-game minor league rehab assignment.
James Wagner of the Washington Post heard from a source Saturday that Harper will be activated from the disabled list in time for Monday’s series-opener against the Rockies. The Nationals are off Sunday after playing a doubleheader at Wrigley Field on Saturday to accommodate the 45th annual Chicago Pride Parade.
Washington (43-38) is in a tie with Atlanta (43-38) at the top of the National League East standings.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.