Bryce Harper and his “ferocious brand of baserunning”

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Last night’s benches-clearing scuffle between the Nationals and Cubs got all the headlines, but before things got ugly when Bryce Harper was nearly hit by a pitch in the sixth inning the 19-year-old rookie showed once again that he’s perhaps MLB’s most aggressive baserunner.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post did a great job describing Harper’s pre-scuffle work on the bases, which included stretching a double into a triple followed by this:

Ryan Zimmerman followed and tapped a dribbler to the left of the mound, which [Justin] Germano fielded. Just off third base, Harper froze as Germano looked him back. Germano, satisfied Harper would behave like the other 99 percent of major league baserunners, turned his back and threw to first.

Harper did not behave like other major league baserunners. He did not take two quiet steps back to third base. He ran like the fastest kid in Little League, the one who runs until he is tagged out and makes other parents want to look at his birth certificate. He ran like someone dared him to. Harper darted, hell-bent for home.

Harper was safe, tying the game at 1-1. And the Nationals spent the rest of the night making the Cubs look and act like they were the Little Leaguers.

Brewers activate Urías, option Brosseau, transfer Ruf to 60-day injured list

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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CINCINNATI – Milwaukee Brewers infielder Luis Urías has been activated from the injured list, more than two months after he strained his left hamstring on opening day.

The Brewers activated Urías on Monday while also announcing that first baseman Darin Ruf has a right patella fracture. The Brewers transferred Ruf from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list and optioned infielder Mike Brosseau to Triple-A Nashville.

Urías was back in the starting lineup and playing third base for the Brewers on Monday night at Cincinnati.

“He’s healthy,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said before the game. “He’s ready to go. Hopefully he can come back swinging the bat well.”

Urías batted .239 with a .335 on-base percentage, 16 homers and 47 RBIs in 119 games for the Brewers last season while playing third base, second base and shortstop.

Urías was the Brewers starting third baseman for their season-opening 4-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs, but he got hurt in that game and hadn’t played since.

Ruf got injured Friday when he ran into a tarp while chasing a foul ball. Ruf was batting .192 with a .300 on-base percentage in 11 games since joining the Brewers

“It’s frustrating that we get kind of a long-term absence based on something like that,” Counsell said.

Brosseau was hitting .205 with a .256 on-base percentage, four homers and eight RBIs in 29 games with the Brewers.