Spring training is a time when healthy players work on things and a time when players coming off of injuries simply work on getting into shape. As such, it’s never a good idea to look too hard at stats or individual outings.
That said, Matt Harvey‘s return to game play after thoracic outlet surgery last summer was always going to be watched a lot more closely than most spring outings. It happened yesterday against the Cardinals. The verdict: eh.
Harvey put in 1.2 innings of work and tossed 39 pitches. His first inning was a 1-2-3 affair with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout to end the inning. In the second inning things went sideways: he allowed four hits, four earned runs and one home run before leaving with two outs.
Again: results don’t matter in spring training and, obviously, a guy’s first game action since last July 4 is going to show some rust. Maybe the most notable thing was his velocity. After the game there were references to him hitting the mid-90s, but the TV gun showed him consistently around 92-93 on his fastball, which is softer than he’s used to throwing.
Coming in to spring training the Mets had no idea what to expect from Harvey this year. One start in, they probably still don’t.
The Reds acquired utilityman Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports.
This is the second time that the Dodgers have traded Sweeney. The club sent him to the Phillies along with John Richy in August 2015 for Chase Utley. The Phillies sent him back to the Dodgers this past offseason with Darin Ruf in exchange for Howie Kendrick.
Sweeney, 26, made his major league debut in 2015 with the Phillies, hitting a meager .176/.286/.353 in 98 plate appearances. With Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, he hit .227/.290/.412 in 131 PA. While Sweeney’s bat hasn’t proven to be anything special, he has played second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions, so his flexibility will make him useful at some point.
Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.
“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”
The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.
Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.