Texas is desperate for rotation help right now with Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, and Derek Holland all hurt, to the point that the Rangers have turned to Tanner Scheppers as their Opening Day starter despite his never starting an MLB game before.
And yet they just released Tommy Hanson, who not so long ago was one of the best young right-handers in baseball for the Braves and had hoped to win a rotation spot this spring after an injury wrecked, ineffective 2013.
He would have gotten $2 million in upfront money for making the Opening Day roster, so with the Rangers hoping that Darvish can avoid the disabled list and Harrison can return in a few weeks they didn’t feel it was a necessary investment. And now Hanson will try to keep his career alive at age 27, most likely at Triple-A.
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.