Bryce Harper finally admitted to having a hip injury yesterday, so manager Davey Johnson gave him the game off, and the Nationals outfielder also admitted to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com that he’s been playing hurt since slamming into the outfield wall in Atlanta in late April:
Ever since I hit the wall, pretty much every day I feel something different. Or something will feel better, and then something else hurts. It’s pretty much just the left side of my body. That’s what hurts me right now. … But the last time I probably felt pretty good was that first month.
At the time of the collision Harper was hitting .344 with a 1.150 OPS in 26 games. Since the collision Harper has hit .250 with a .792 OPS in 74 games. Obviously he was likely to come back to earth after posting a 1.150 OPS in April whether he was injured or healthy, but Harper’s production since the calendar flipped to May has actually been worse than his rookie numbers and within that time frame he also missed more than a month with another injury caused by an outfield wall collision in Los Angeles.
Twins senior director of communications Dustin Morse announced that the Twins will honor former C/1B Joe Mauer by retiring his uniform number 7. Mauer announced his retirement from baseball on November 9.
Mauer will join Harmon Killebrew (No. 3), Tony Oliva (No. 6), Tom Kelly (No. 10), Kent Hrbek (No. 14), Rod Carew (No. 29), Kirby Pucket (No. 34), and Bert Blyleven (No. 28) as Twins to have their numbers retired.
Mauer, 35, spent 15 seasons in the majors, all with the Twins. He posted a career .306/.388/.439 triple-slash line with 143 home runs and 923 RBI. He won the AL MVP Award in 2009, won the batting title three times, earned three Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers, and made the AL All-Star team six times. Sadly, his career was limited due to injuries, including a concussion that caused him to move from catcher to first base.
Five years from now, Mauer will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot. There will certainly be some arguments for and against his candidacy. He retired with 55.1 career Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference, which definitely puts him in the conversation. But, as always, there’s never a consensus.