Baseball wants the Red Sox to get back into the race

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Bob Raissman of the Daily News observes that, based on the fact that FOX is giving an unusually-large portion of the nation the Yankees-Sox game tomorrow and based on the fact that the schedule makers have put so many Yankees-Sox games late in the season, baseball was banking on those two titans to slug it out down to the wire.  If the Sox don’t get back into the race, he says, it could be a bad thing for the bottom line.

That sound you hear is the rest of the nation not caring one iota. Any business plan that relies so heavily on two teams deserves to be disrupted.  Indeed, though it would totally horrifying from a business perspective, I can imagine nothing better for baseball’s long-term health than a Rays-Padres World Series.

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.

Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.

Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”

Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.

Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.