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.

Blake Wood has a damaged UCL

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Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that Angels reliever Blake Wood underwent an MRI and was diagnosed with a damaged ulnar collateral ligament. Wood will seek further opinions before a course of treatment is decided. Tommy John surgery is a possibility.

Wood, 32, had been on a rehab assignment with High-A Inland Empire and has been on the disabled list since April 22. Prior to the injury, Wood compiled a 2.31 ERA with a 10/7 K/BB ratio in 11 2/3 innings.

Keynan Middleton recently underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a damaged UCL, so it’s not been a great time to be a member of the Angels’ bullpen.