Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper underwent surgery in October to debride and repair the bursa sac in his left knee, but he told Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com at NatsFest today that it “feels great” and he began sprinting about three weeks ago.
Harper was banged up following collisions with the outfield wall in April and May last year, but he admitted today that he was actually hurting even earlier. While he played through the pain for most of the season, he said his big takeaway from 2013 is that he’ll “probably never do that again.” The young phenom won’t say for sure if he’ll be 100 percent for the start of spring training, but there should still be plenty of time for him to get ready for the season even if the Nationals ease him into things.
Harper, 21, hit .274/.368/.486 with 20 home runs, 58 RBI, and 11 stolen bases in 118 games last season.
Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.
Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.
Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.
Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.