Nationals place Bryce Harper on disabled list with left thumb sprain, possible ligament damage

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As first relayed by beat reporter James Wagner at the Washington Post, the Nationals have officially placed outfielder Bryce Harper on the 15-day disabled list because of a sprained left thumb. Steven Souza Jr. was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse in a corresponding 25-man roster move Sunday to provide outfield depth in Harper’s absence.

Harper suffered the thumb sprain Friday night against the Padres when he dove head-first into third base after a bases-loaded triple in the bottom of the third inning. He underwent an MRI on Saturday and will be examined by a specialist this week. The Nats believe he may have some ligament damage. “Doesn’t look good,” a source told the Post.

Harper, 21, was batting .289/.352/.422 with one home run and nine RBI in 22 games this season.

It’s maybe worth noting that he got benched a week ago for a lack of hustle.

Funny, then, that he screwed up his left thumb on a hustle play.

Ken Giles: ‘I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston’

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Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”

Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”

Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.