Matt Capps has been out since June 23 with a shoulder injury, but Dan Cook of WCOO reports that the Twins will activate the closer from the disabled list prior to tomorrow’s second-half opener against the A’s.
Glen Perkins and Jared Burton have basically split closing duties in Capps’ absence, with Perkins getting a larger share of the save opportunities, but knowing how the Twins and manager Ron Gardenhire operate there’s little doubt that Capps will slide back into the ninth-inning role.
Minnesota would surely love to see Capps put together a healthy, effective half-dozen appearances in order to build up some value heading into the July 31 trade deadline, although they’ll be lucky to get a marginal prospect for him either way.
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.