Daisuke Matsuzaka’s injury “consistent with UCL sprain”

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Daisuke Matsuzaka was placed on the disabled list yesterday with an elbow injury and today the Red Sox announced that an MRI exam revealed “elbow tightness consistent with a UCL sprain and flexor mass strain.”

Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that Matsuzaka will be re-examined again in two weeks, but UCL sprains often end up requiring Tommy John elbow surgery that would knock him out for 12-18 months.

For now there’s no reason to assume that Matsuzaka will need to go under the knife–and the Red Sox indicated to Speier that they’re relieved to have caught the problem relatively early–but he won’t be rejoining the rotation any time soon.

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.