Corey Hart is headed to the disabled list with a strained left hamstring and the Mariners have replaced him on the roster by recalling Nick Franklin from Triple-A.
After missing all of last season with a knee injury Hart signed a one-year deal with the Mariners in the hopes of bouncing back well and cashing in on the open market as a healthy free agent, but instead he hit just .209 with five homers and a .647 OPS in 37 games before being shut down.
Franklin was slated to be the Mariners’ starting second baseman until Robinson Cano was lured to Seattle for $240 million. After losing his job he was demoted to Triple-A, where he’s been on fire with a Pacific Coast League-leading .376 batting average and 1.114 OPS in 30 games. Franklin was exclusively a middle infielder before this season, but now he’ll get a chance to play the outfield in place of Hart and perhaps showcase his bat to teams that might want him as a second baseman long term.
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.