Bryce Harper had the worst game of his brief major league career during the Nationals’ 7-3 win over the Reds tonight. And it’s not just because he went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.
According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Harper needed 10 stitches above his left eye after slamming his bat up against a wall and having it come back and hit him in the face. Seriously.
Harper took his frustrations out on a wall in the tunnel after grounding out to begin the seventh inning. He remained in the game after the incident and returned to the field in the bottom of the seventh with blood streaking down the side of his face. The picture to the right is from his at-bat in the ninth inning.
The 19-year-old outfielder emerged in the clubhouse after the game with what Kilgore describes as a “golf ball-sized welt” on his forehead and “clumps of blood” in his hair.
“I just got caught up in the moment,” Harper said. “I want to do so well. It just got me.”
Nationals manager Davey Johnson suggested that Harper could sit out one or two games for precautionary reasons, but the precocious rookie doesn’t think he’ll need to miss any time.
Harper obviously let his emotions get the best of him here, which isn’t unusual for a teenager, but the good news is that he managed to avoid serious injury. And hey, at least it inspired Ian Desmond to give him a new nickname. You can now call him “Bam Bam.”
The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.
Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.
The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.
In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.