Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was hit twice by Braves pitchers last night, the second of which, thrown by reliever Luis Avilan, garnered a standing ovation from the home crowd in Atlanta. Braves pitchers have been at fault three of the four times Harper has been hit by a pitch this year. Recall that the benches cleared on August 6 when starter Julio Teheran plunked Harper. So there’s definitely some hard feelings at least in one direction.
Harper has been scratched from tonight’s lineup due to a bruise on his left arm sustained from getting hit by Avilan’s fastball, per CSN’s Mark Zuckerman. Zuckerman spoke to manager Davey Johnson, who said he and the clubhouse at large are not happy about the fact that his best player isn’t able to play, but insisted that he hasn’t given his players any instructions to retaliate.
In Harper’s absence, Denard Span will lead off and play center with Scott Hairston in left and Jayson Werth in right.
Bryce Harper is out of today’s game against the Giants due to flu-like symptoms. He came down with it yesterday. Scott Hairston will take his place.
I highlight this only as a reminder of the Nationals’ discriminatory flu policies. A couple of weeks ago Drew Storen had the flu and the Nats not only made him pitch, but left him in to wear one in a total beatdown in the first game of a doubleheader against the Mets. Storen’s dad complained on Twitter.
I call on any employment attorneys within the sound of my voice to find Drew Storen and ask to represent him in a discrimination lawsuit against the Nationals. I’m sure that will do all manner of things to get him back into the good graces of the Nationals organization.
After a lost year, Marlon Byrd has exceeded all expectations this season by batting .263 with 15 home runs, 49 RBI, and an .804 OPS through 77 games With the Mets unlikely to make a run at things, many have logically speculated that the club will attempt to sell high by the trade deadline later this month. Then again, maybe not.
During an appearance on MLB Network Radio this morning, Mets special assistant to the GM J.P. Ricciardi indicated that the team won’t move Byrd unless they are overwhelmed.
Byrd is unlikely to be a contributor on the 2014 team, so it would be silly to dismiss the possibility of a trade entirely. And teams often say things like this in order to drive up prices. But the Mets had a similar situation last year with Scott Hairston and ended up keeping him. It ultimately comes down to whether the team prefers the chance to win another couple of games with Byrd over the possibility of receiving a lower level prospect in return. Recent history suggests they may stand pat.
Looking for another weapon to combat left-handed pitchers, the Nationals picked up Scott Hairston from the Cubs on Sunday night, a source told FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.
Rosenthal says the Cubs will get a minor league pitcher in return.
Hairston had to be expecting a bigger role than the one he found in Chicago after signing a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cubs in the offseason. He ended up getting just 98 at-bats in the Cubs’ 86 games and hitting .163/.225/.398 with seven homers and 18 RBI. Last year, Hairston hit .263/.299/.504 with 20 homers in 377 at-bats for the Mets.
Unfortunately, Hairston isn’t looking at an expanded role in Washington, not as long as the team’s starting outfielders stay healthy. Bryce Harper, Denard Span and Jayson Werth are all everyday players, and the Nats aren’t going to pick one to start benching against lefties, although they do want to give Harper more time off as he deals with a sore knee. Hairston has no experience at first base, so he probably won’t be of any help there. However, he will be an upgrade over Tyler Moore as a late-game option off the bench.
The Nationals will be the seventh team for the 34-year-old Hairston. He’s still looking to go to the playoffs for the first time in his 10 big-league seasons.