Tonight is Round 2 of Bryce Harper vs. Cole Hamels as the Nationals and Phillies square off in Philadelphia, but both sides are trying their best to downplay the situation that resulted in endless headlines and a suspension for Hamels the first time they met.
Hamels has declined to comment other than to now claim that his hitting Harper on May 6 was actually unintentional–sorry Cole, that ship has long since sailed–and Harper told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he doesn’t expect another incident:
I don’t even think about that. It’s a new series, a new day. I have a lot of respect for everybody in that other dugout. They’re an All-Star team … guys who are All-Stars who have been in this league for a long time.
Earlier this week Harper also praised Phillies fans while joking about their battery-throwing past and Philadelphia added extra ballpark security in the outfield to avoid any issues, so on paper at least Round 2 might end up being just another matchup between one of baseball’s best left-handers and one of baseball’s best young hitters.
Assuming, of course, that no one feels the sudden urge to be “old school.”
The Blue Jays placed right-hander Aaron Sanchez on the 10-day disabled list with a contusion in his right index finger, per a team announcement on Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to Friday. In a corresponding move, righty Marcus Stroman was activated from the DL (right shoulder fatigue) and will take the mound for the Blue Jays at 9:07 PM ET tonight.
Sanchez, 25, is in his fifth season with the club. He hasn’t looked his sharpest so far this year, going 3-5 in 15 starts with a career-worst 4.52 ERA, 5.1 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 through 79 2/3 innings. It’s not yet clear how long he’ll be sidelined, though he could miss as little as one turn in the rotation before returning to the roster in the next week or two.
Sanchez isn’t the only struggling starter in Toronto’s rotation, either. Per MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm, the team placed southpaw Jaime Garcia on the DL (right shoulder tenderness) as well, with lefty reliever Tim Mayza scheduled to take his spot on the roster. In 13 starts this season, Garcia carried a 2-6 record, 6.16 ERA, 4.5 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 61 1/3 innings. Any further decisions pertaining to the rotation — including Tuesday’s starter against the Astros — have yet to be publicly addressed.