Aramis Ramirez was forced to leave last night’s game with a left knee sprain and he’s now looking at an extended absence. According to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, the Brewers placed Ramirez on the 15-day disabled list today and recalled utility man Josh Prince from Triple-A Nashville.
It’s not known how long Ramirez will be sidelined, but he told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last night that it felt worse than the knee issue that sidelined him for two weeks during spring training. Not good news.
The Brewers are running so thin on healthy infielders that they were forced to use Alex Gonzalez at third base last night for the first time in his career. Of course, Gonzalez was originally expected to fill in for Corey Hart at first base. However, Ramirez’s injury could force the Brewers to use Gonzalez and Yuniesky Betancourt at the corners in the days ahead. Yeesh.
Bryce Harper, who said he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round, certainly appeared gassed in the final round. So, too, did his dad, who was throwing to him. But Harper caught fire, going on a tear and tying Kyle Schwarber with 18 home runs before time expired in the final round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for No. 19. He tossed his bat in celebration, grabbed his trophy, then gave it to his dad before he was mobbed on the field by his All-Star teammates.
Harper hit 13 home runs in the first round, eliminating Freddie Freeman and advancing to the semifinals. In the semis, Harper topped Max Muncy 13-12 to advance to the finals. On Schwarber’s side of the bracket, he bested Alex Bregman 16-15, then defeated Rhys Hoskins 21-20.
Harper is the first member of the Nationals (or Expos) to win the Home Run Derby. Harper participated in the 2013 Derby but finished in second place behind Yoenis Céspedes. Harper is also the first left-handed hitter to win the Derby since Prince Fielder in 2012. The only players to win the Derby in their home park are Todd Frazier in 2015 and Ryne Sandberg in 1990.
As a spectator, the 2018 Home Run Derby was tons of fun. The four-minute clock adds a lot of tension and intrigue even to the initial rounds. Seeing teammates cheer and get excited for their teammates in the Derby is really fun. Of course, watching dinger after dinger is cool, too. Can’t wait for next year.