The Royals are about to call up Rick Ankiel from Omaha, where he has put up a batting line of .270/.281/.556 in 63 at bats while rehabbing. Meanwhile, Alex Gordon is batting .315/.442/.577 in 260 at bats since being sent down, presumably to learn left field.
Query: given Ankiel’s injury history and his own defensive limitations, why on Earth isn’t Alex Gordon getting the shot in Kansas City’s outfield instead of Ankiel?
The only reason I can possibly think of is that the Royals think they can trade Ankiel and want to showcase him for a bit, but that’s a bit delusional, ain’t it? Guy hasn’t played in the majors for nearly three months.
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.