Umpires take a beating

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Umpire Kerwin Danley had to leave last night’s Reds-Rockies game after being hit in the mask with a pitch. He says he’s OK, but the story about it reveals just how much abuse umpires take:

Danley has suffered several head injuries during his 16-year career.

In 2008, he was knocked unconscious when Dodgers catcher Russell Martin missed a pitch by Brad Penny, allowing the ball to hit Danley on the jaw. He missed more than a month.

A year later, he was taken off the field in Toronto on a stretcher after the barrel of Hank Blalock’s broken bat hit him flush on the mask. He was released from a hospital the next day.

While you don’t see a stretcher take an umpire out very often, I bet Danley is not some anomaly when it comes to getting beat up behind the plate. You have to figure those guys have more bruises, sore spots and old knots than anyone besides catchers.

Bryce Harper finally gets his first spring training hit with Phillies

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Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper hasn’t had the best spring training showing. After a delayed start because he didn’t officially sign until early this month, Harper made his Phillies debut on March 9. Then Harper had an injury scare when he was hit in the ankle by a pitch on March 15. Harper returned on Sunday and finally registered his first hit of the spring on Wednesday — a line drive up the middle.

Harper finished 1-for-2 with a walk on the afternoon. In 10 official at-bats, Harper is batting .100/.438/.100. As you can see, five total walks are helping that on-base percentage. Spring stats are largely meaningless, though, so no one should be worried about Harper with the start of the regular season just a week away.