At least seven teams “have checked in” on Rich Harden

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Rich Harden was a bust for the Rangers after signing a one-year, $7.5 million deal last winter, posting a 5.58 ERA in 92 innings. Despite his lengthy injury history it was the first time that Harden’s performance ceased being fantastic, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that at least seven teams “have checked in” on the 29-year-old right-hander.

Morosi lists the Yankees, Twins, Rays, Diamondbacks, Brewers, Mariners, and Rockies among the interested teams, but adds that “some like him as a starter… some like him as a reliever.”

Harden moving to the bullpen in an effort to stay healthy makes plenty of sense, but it’s no longer safe to simply assume he’d be dominant as a reliever even if he can remain healthy. His average fastball velocity dropped to a career-low 90.5 miles per hour this year and has gradually declined from his peak of 94.3 and 94.4 mph in 2004 and 2005.

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.