New manager Buck Showalter considering a six-man rotation for Orioles in September

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Buck Showalter isn’t wasting any time making changes in Baltimore, saying earlier this week that Alfredo Simon is far from guaranteed to remain the Orioles’ closer and indicating last night that the team may use a six-man starting rotation in September.

It’s something that we have kicked around a little bit depending on what the needs of the guys are. I don’t think we’re at that point. We’ll try to let them finish off the year and when we get to September, we’ll see what’s best for everybody.

Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun notes that going to a six-man rotation would give Showalter an opportunity to evaluate one extra young pitcher, such as Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, or Rick VandenHurk, while also limiting the workload of current rookie starters Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta.
Zrebiec adds that the extra rest from a six-man rotation “would likely be viewed unfavorably by veterans Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie, who want to pitch every five days and finish out the season strong.” Of course, Millwood is a 35-year-old impending free agent with a 5.74 ERA and 2-12 record, so I’m not sure why the Orioles are even sticking with him at this point, let alone actually caring what he’d view “unfavorably.”

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.