Joey Votto

Bryce Harper

Tony Cingrani hits Bryce Harper in the back with a pitch, then complains he was too slow getting to first base


Reds reliever Tony Cingrani hit Bryce Harper in the back with a fastball in the seventh inning of Friday night’s game against the Nationals. Here’s the video. Putting Harper on first base meant that the tying run was only 270 feet away from home plate, so it’s difficult to see Cingrani wanting to hit Harper on purpose in that situation.

As Harper was hit square in the back, he took his time getting to first base. Per’s Mark Sheldon, first baseman Joey Votto was not happy about the way Harper handled the situation, for some reason. He was 0-for-3 to that point, so it wasn’t like he gawked at a home run.

Cingrani wasn’t happy about Harper, either.

Harper is still only 22 years old, but he’s in his fourth year in the majors and has unquestionably been the best player in baseball so far this season. For whatever reason, some players like Harper — as well as Yasiel Puig and Carlos Gomez — become lightning rods with which older players use to make points about the unwritten rules.

Grant Brisbee wrote a terrific column about baseball’s unwritten rules at SB Nation recently, which certainly has relevance here.

Stephen Strasburg exits start in the second inning with an apparent injury

Stephen Strasburg

Update: Strasburg’s issue is with his left trap muscle, per MASN’s Dan Kolko. He’ll be evaluated on Saturday.

Some bad news that could lead to some worse news for the Nationals: starter Stephen Strasburg left in the second inning of Friday night’s start against the Reds. He walked leadoff batter Brayan Pena, then was attended to by the team trainer before walking off the mound. Taylor Jordan relieved him. Strasburg had allowed one run on a first-inning Joey Votto home run.

This isn’t the first injury scare the the Nationals have had with Strasburg this season. He left a start earlier this month due to discomfort under his shoulder blade but only had his next start moved back as opposed to landing on the disabled list. Strasburg has struggled, carrying a 6.55 ERA, a 1.72 WHIP, and a 45/14 K/BB ratio in 45 1/3 innings.

As soon as more information is known about Strasburg’s status, we’ll update you here.

Play of the Day: Joey Votto makes a ridiculous throw to complete a double play

Joey Votto

Reds first baseman Joey Votto completed a 3-6 double play with a rather unorthodox throw in the second inning of Saturday afternoon’s game against the Indians. With Brandon Moss on first base following a leadoff walk, Nick Swisher hit a grounder to Votto. Votto stepped on the bag for the first out. Then, with his momentum taking him in the opposite direction of second base, Votto flipped the ball like a pitcher with a submarine delivery to shortstop Zack Cozart, who applied the tag on Moss for the second out on the play.

Votto also finished the day 2-for-4 with a double. Along with superb defense at first base, Votto is batting .289/.386/.480 with seven home runs and 21 RBI on the season.