Mets closer Bobby Parnell needs neck surgery

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Mets closer Bobby Parnell, who was shut down more than a month ago with a herniated disk in his neck, will undergo surgery at some point according to manager Terry Collins.

Parnell tried to rest and rehab the injury and also got an epidural injection, but the problem remained. He fared well stepping into the closer role for the injured Frank Francisco, saving 22 games with a 2.16 ERA and 44/12 K/BB ratio in 50 innings, but Parnell hasn’t pitched since July 30.

Under team control through 2015 and set to get a sizable raise from this year’s $1.7 million salary via arbitration, the 29-year-old right-hander figures to handle save chances for the Mets next season assuming he’s healthy.

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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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.