Aaron Gleeman

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper’s underrated day: Three at-bats, three homers

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“Bryce Harper is overrated” has always been a very silly stance to take and it looks particularly silly today because the 22-year-old Nationals right fielder has hit a home run in each of his first three at-bats against the Marlins.

Harper is now hitting .268 with .419 on-base percentage and .567 slugging percentage on the season, including seven home runs and a league-leading 26 walks. He won’t be 23 years old until mid-October and is currently the fourth-youngest player in the National League.

He’s also the third-youngest player in National League history to hit three home runs in a game–trailing only Hall of Famers Eddie Mathews and Mel Ott–and the youngest player in either league to homer three times in a game since 1969.

And here’s a list of all the players since 1985 with at least 1,500 plate appearances and an adjusted OPS+ of at least 120 through age 22:

Bryce Harper
Mike Trout
Miguel Cabrera
Alex Rodriguez
Ken Griffey Jr.

UPDATE: Harper failed to homer in his fourth at-bat, settling for an RBI ground out. What a bum.

First homer:

Second homer:

Third homer:

Tigers, doctors clear Justin Verlander to resume throwing

Justin Verlander
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After multiple false starts and MRI exams stemming from his spring training triceps injury Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander has been cleared to resume throwing.

According to a statement released by the team “he was given the clearance to resume a throwing program designed to return him to full competition.” And at least three doctors signed off, reports Jason Beck of MLB.com.

However, because he’s missed so much time Verlander will need a minor-league rehab assignment before coming off the disabled list and there’s no timetable for him to begin pitching in the minors. In other words, it’ll be a while before he’s back in Detroit and there are still plenty of hurdles to clear, but this is the first truly positive news related to Verlander’s health since the initial “minor” injury.

Jayson Werth out of Nationals’ lineup with “cranky” shoulder

jayson werth getty
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Jayson Werth, who started the season on the disabled list following January shoulder surgery and has hit .176 since returning, is out of the Nationals lineup for the second straight game with a “cranky” shoulder.

That’s according to manager Matt Williams, who has rookie Michael Taylor starting in Werth’s place against the Marlins. Washington has Thursday off, which means Werth will get three days off before rejoining the lineup Friday versus Atlanta.

Werth hit .292 with an .849 OPS last season, but in addition to hitting just .176 with zero homers in 19 games this season Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com writes that he “has looked less than comfortable at times in left field.” Taylor’s presence means there’s little incentive for the Nationals to rush Werth back, but turning away from him completely is unlikely given how good he was in 2014 and the fact that he’s still owed about $60 million through 2017.