Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper had himself a day on Sunday afternoon against the Phillies. The 2015 NL MVP smashed a two-run home run off of Jerad Eickhoff in the third inning, breaking a 1-1 tie. Later, in the bottom of the ninth with his Nationals trailing by one run with runners on first and second base and two outs, Harper struck a Joaquin Benoit fastball to straightaway center field for a walk-off three-run homer.
Harper is now hitting a cool .333/.455/.644 with four home runs and 13 RBI in 55 plate appearances so far this season.
Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has been shut down for two weeks with a minor lat strain, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It’s a precautionary move, as Ramirez felt some tightness in his arm and could not complete his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday.
There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will be able to recover in time for the start of the season, though he’s expected to claim a rotation spot again this spring. The 28-year-old righty has been dogged by injuries throughout his six-year career, but finally managed to piece together a full season on the mound in back-to-back stints with the Rays and Mariners in 2017. He went 5-6 in 19 starts for the two clubs and turned in a cumulative 4.39 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 through 131 1/3 innings.
The Mariners are no stranger to pitcher injuries, either. They lost a number of their top arms to various elbow, arm and shoulder injuries last year and cycled through 40 total pitchers as they limped toward a 78-84 finish. Comments from club manager Scott Servais indicate that the team will keep a close eye on Ramirez throughout his recovery, though Divish notes that right-hander Andrew Moore and lefty Ariel Miranda could also slot into the no. 5 spot if Ramirez experiences further setbacks.