According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Mets have signed left-hander Duane Below to a minor league contract. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York notes that he will not receive an invite to major league camp.
Below previously appeared in the majors with the Tigers and Marlins, posting a 4.23 ERA over 40 relief appearances and three starts. He had a brief stint with the Kia Tigers of the Korea Baseball Organization in 2013. The 29-year-old mostly pitched as a starter last season with the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate and compiled a 3.70 ERA and 62/41 K/BB ratio over 116 2/3 innings.
Josh Edgin is the lone lock as a left-hander in New York’s bullpen, so it’s still possible that Below will be considered this spring. Rule 5 pick Sean Gilmartin along with Scott Rice, Dario Alvarez, Darin Gorski, and Jack Leathersich are the other current candidates as second left-handers.
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.