Cleveland’s Ubaldo Jimenez was banned five games by the league Monday for intentionally throwing a pitch at Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on Sunday.
Jimenez was not ejected from Sunday’s game, even though it was obvious he meant to drill Tulowitzki. The benches cleared after the incident, though order was quickly restored. Tulo was taken for X-rays on a bruised left elbow, but they came back negative and he’s still expected to be ready for Opening Day.
Jimenez, who said he did no wrong, is likely to appeal the suspension. However, it’d be for the best if he serves it right away. The Indians have Friday off, so they can use a four-man rotation for the first five games of the season and then have Jimenez start the sixth game on April 11. Opening Day starter Justin Masterson would pitch Thursday and Tuesday in that scenario.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.