Quick hits: Harang done for the year

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Here’s a few quick hits to get you started for Sunday’s action:



– According to Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse,
Aaron Harang will miss the rest of the season after undergoing an
emergency appendectomy. He finishes yet another disappointing
campaign at 6-14 with a 4.21 ERA. His 14 losses led the majors, while
only four other pitches gave up more homers (24 in 162 1/3 innings).
However, his 2.86 ERA over his last four starts give at least some hope
that he’ll be worth the $12.5 million owed to him next season.
Scott Rolen was activated from the disabled list to take his spot on the roster.



– On the heels of Aaron Cook going down with a strained right shoulder, the Rockies are on the verge of adding some reinforcements
in veterans Russ Ortiz and Jason Giambi. Ortiz was 3-6 with a 5.57 ERA
in 23 games (13 starts) with the Astros before being released on July
30. He was granted his release by the Yankees last week after going 2-1
with Triple-A Columbus. As for Giambi, he’ll function as a left-handed
bat off the bench. The 38-year-old slugger batted just .193/.332/.364
with 11 homers and 40 RBI before being released by the Athletics on
August 7. Both are expected to join the team when rosters expand in
September and would be eligible for post-season play.




– Oh, the ego. Jonathan Papelbon and Manny Delcarmen have expressed some concern
at the prospect of the Red Sox acquiring Billy Wagner. Papelbon went as
far to ask, “What has he done? Has he pitched this year?” while
comparing the potential move to Eric Gagne in 2007. The Red Sox
have until 1pm ET on Tuesday to complete a deal for the 38-year-old
southpaw.

There was another miscommunication between the Phillies and Pat Neshek

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Back in June 2017, then-manager of the Phillies Pete Mackanin and reliever Pat Neshek had some miscommunication. In a series against the Cardinals, Neshek worked a five-pitch eighth inning and it was believed he would come back out for the ninth inning, but he never did. Mackanin said Neshek said he didn’t want to pitch another inning. Neshek said he was never asked. There was also some miscommunication the game prior. Neshek thought he had the day off; Mackanin said Neshek said he wasn’t available to pitch.

Mackanin is no longer the Phillies’ manager, but the miscommunication between Neshek and the team apparently persist. Neshek was notably absent during the Phillies’ hard-fought 5-4 win over the Cubs on Monday night. The game featured a struggling Seranthony Domínguez pitching two innings, yielding three crucial runs in his second inning of work.

Manager Gabe Kapler called the bullpen and instructed Neshek to begin warming up to prepare to face Albert Almora, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Kapler rang the bullpen after Domínguez walked Jason Heyward, who batted ahead of Almora. Neshek wasn’t warmed up yet. Domínguez was able to retire Almora on a sacrifice bunt, which was reviewed and gave Neshek some extra time to get ready. He was ready for the next batter, Daniel Descalso, but at this point Kapler no longer wanted to bring Neshek into the game. Descalso lined a triple to left-center field, scoring two runs and came home himself when shortstop Jean Segura‘s throw caromed off of his foot out of play.

Recounting the situation, Neshek said, “I got on the mound and threw two pitches. [Kapler] said, ‘Is he ready?’ And I said, ‘No. I’m not ready yet. I’ve thrown two pitches.” Neshek was asked how long it takes him to get ready. The veteran said, “A minute. Not 20 seconds. I’m, like, the best in the league at getting ready. My whole career has been coming in like that.”

The Phillies were able to eke out a 5-4 win. Had they lost the game, Kapler and Neshek would likely have been under the microscope for the awkward situation leading to a crushing defeat. Kapler drew plenty of criticism over his bullpen management last year in his rookie managerial season. That included bringing in lefty reliever Hoby Milner into a game in which he hadn’t yet warmed up.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the manager who struggled with bullpen management last year nearly mucked up a win last night, and maybe it’s just a coincidence that a reliever who’s had prior issues with communication had another communication mix-up. Maybe it’s not. It’s worth noting that the Phillies needed three innings from the bullpen to protect a 2-1 lead over the Cubs on Tuesday. Kapler called on rookie Edgar Garcia for two outs, lefty José Álvarez for four, and then brought in Juan Nicasio to close things out in the ninth. No Neshek, even as Nicasio got into trouble. Nicasio would surrender the tying and go-ahead runs, resulting in a deflating 3-2 loss.