Spring exhibition games have begun and that means we finally have some fresh baseball highlights at our disposal. Let’s kick things off with one of the longer home runs you’ll see this spring.
The Mets hosted the Nationals at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, Florida on Saturday afternoon. Lefty Sean Gilmartin started for the Mets and worked a perfect first inning. Nats outfielder Bryce Harper led off the top of the second and swung at a first-pitch fastball from Gilmartin. It was absolutely crushed to right-center field, nearly clearing the berm beyond the fence.
Harper, 24, is trying to show that his 2015 NL MVP Award-winning season was no fluke, as he had what was by his standards a down year last season. He finished batting .243/.373/.441 with 24 home runs, 86 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 21 stolen bases in 627 plate appearances.
Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox are calling up third base prospect Rafael Devers. He’ll be in Seattle for the start of the three-game set between the Sox and Mariners.
Devers, 20, is the top prospect in the Boston system according to MLB Pipeline. He has spent most of his season with Double-A Portland, where he hit .300/.369/.575 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI in 320 plate appearances. He was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket after the All-Star break. In eight games with Pawtucket, Devers hit .355/.412/.581 with two home runs and four RBI.
There is still just over a week until the non-waiver trade deadline, but perhaps the Red Sox seem confident Devers can be the answer to the third base problem.
It’s not a good day if you’re a star starting pitcher. First Clayton Kershaw, now Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals’ right-hander lasted only two innings in Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks, leaving with an apparent injury. Strasburg held the D-Backs to a hit and three walks with two strikeouts without allowing a run. Matt Grace relieved him in the third inning.
Including Strasburg’s two innings on Sunday, he’s carrying a 3.25 ERA with a 141/37 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings.
The Nationals should pass along word on Strasburg’s condition shortly.