Yordano Ventura to make rehab start on Friday

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From beat writer Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star comes word that injured Royals starter Yordano Ventura is scheduled to make a minor league rehab appearance Friday at Triple-A Omaha.

The young right-hander will throw around 75 pitches and should then be allowed to return to the Royals’ starting rotation late next week against the Astros.

Ventura has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 13 with ulnar neuritis in his pitching hand.

The hard-throwing 24-year-old owns a somewhat disappointing 4.68 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 54/21 K/BB ratio in 67 1/3 innings this season for the AL Central-leading Royals.

He posted a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings last season and became a household name in October.

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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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.