Bryce Harper makes first career start in leadoff spot

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Bryce Harper has hit mostly third (51 times) and occasionally second (five times) this season, but manager Davey Johnson chose to mix things up today, moving him into the leadoff spot and dropping Denard Span down to seventh.

Obviously, this has more to do with Span’s poor play and the struggles of the Nationals’ offense as a whole than any desire to see Harper hit with fewer men on base. After an excellent first week and a half as a National, Span has hit .246/.293/.341 in his last 78 games. Although he’s been a fixture in the leadoff spot, he’s scored just 32 times in that span.

Harper has hit .265/.372/.526 for the season. The two hole seems like the ideal spot for his bat, but if Span isn’t getting on, the Nats might as well let him with the bases empty and no outs instead of the bases empty and one out. They have rookie Anthony Rendon batting second and Ryan Zimmerman batting third today.

Giants place Dereck Rodriguez on DL due to injury sustained during altercation with Dodgers

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Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports that Giants pitcher Dereck Rodriguez has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a Grade 1 strain of his hamstring. Rodriguez apparently suffered the injury during Tuesday’s altercation with the Dodgers which featured Yasiel Puig and Nick Hundley.

Rodriguez, 22, has been having an outstanding rookie season, posting a 2.25 ERA with a 65/19 K/BB ratio in 80 innings across 12 starts and two relief appearances.

Casey Kelly will start in Rodriguez’s place against the Reds on Friday.