Corey Hart is eligible to come off the disabled list on May 30, but Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that the Brewers first baseman won’t be ready to return from right knee surgery by then.
However, he has progressed enough to take batting practice yesterday and doing some running on the field. There’s still no timetable yet for Hart to begin a minor-league rehab assignment, so he’s likely at least 3-4 weeks from potentially rejoining the Brewers.
In his absence Brewers first basemen have hit just .200 with four homers in 42 games for a .560 OPS that ranks 28th among 30 teams, which is what happens when you’re so low on depth that you have to start weak-hitting middle infielders like Yuniesky Betancourt and Alex Gonzalez at first base.
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.