Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is out of the lineup tonight for the third straight game, as manager Mike Redmond goes with rookie J.T. Realmuto behind the plate.
Saltalamacchia made it clear that he’s not happy with the benching, but told Tom D’Angelo of the Palm Beach Post that he’ll avoid making a big fuss publicly:
Am I mad? Yeah I’m mad, I want to play. I’m not going to hurt this team. I’m not going to be the reason that causes a distraction. No hard feelings whatsoever. I want to win. My job is to help the team win so whatever I can do to help is what I’m going to do.
That’s just about a perfect response, so credit to Saltalamacchia for that, although Redmond did say that their private conversation was “touchy.”
He’s in the second season of a three-year, $21 million deal, but has struggled defensively while going 2-for-22 this season and hitting .213 in 121 games for the Marlins overall. If the Marlins want to play the 24-year-old Realmuto trying to trade Saltalamacchia would make more sense than forcing him into a backup role.
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.