Bryce Harper scratched from Saturday’s lineup with sore back

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The Nationals have scratched outfielder Bryce Harper from tonight’s lineup against the Reds due to a sore back. This will be the first game he hasn’t started this season.

Harper was hit square in the middle of his back by a 93 mph fastball from Reds left-hander Tony Cingrani in the seventh inning last night. There was a little bit of drama involved, as the Reds were peeved that he took too long to make it down to first base. It turns out that getting hit in the back by a 93 mph pitch hurts. Who knew?

Clint Robinson will start in Harper’s place in right field tonight while Michael Taylor will start in left.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.