Bryce Harper has torn the cover off the ball this spring training. He’s wanting to avoid tearing his body too, so he’s taking a breather:
Bryce Harper will likely miss the Nationals’ final two Grapefruit League games while letting his swollen left thumb heal, but the 20-year-old outfielder hopes to play Friday against the Yankees in Washington in advance of Opening Day on Monday.
In other Harper news, I was in a restaurant with my kids last night where SportsCenter was showing his spring training stats. My son asked me if someone hitting .490 is good. I said yeah. So now my son likes Bryce Harper. He also has no patience for people who talk about how spring training stats are meaningless.
Twins senior director of communications Dustin Morse announced that the Twins will honor former C/1B Joe Mauer by retiring his uniform number 7. Mauer announced his retirement from baseball on November 9.
Mauer will join Harmon Killebrew (No. 3), Tony Oliva (No. 6), Tom Kelly (No. 10), Kent Hrbek (No. 14), Rod Carew (No. 29), Kirby Pucket (No. 34), and Bert Blyleven (No. 28) as Twins to have their numbers retired.
Mauer, 35, spent 15 seasons in the majors, all with the Twins. He posted a career .306/.388/.439 triple-slash line with 143 home runs and 923 RBI. He won the AL MVP Award in 2009, won the batting title three times, earned three Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers, and made the AL All-Star team six times. Sadly, his career was limited due to injuries, including a concussion that caused him to move from catcher to first base.
Five years from now, Mauer will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot. There will certainly be some arguments for and against his candidacy. He retired with 55.1 career Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference, which definitely puts him in the conversation. But, as always, there’s never a consensus.