The news has gone from bad to worse for Mariners’ middle infielder Jean Segura, who left Thursday’s game when he sprained his right ankle on a slide into second base. The Mariners placed Segura on the 10-day disabled list on Friday, but recent comments from GM Jerry Dipoto revealed that the shortstop could miss up to 1-2 months during the recovery process.
Prior to the injury, Segura was off to a hot start in his first season with the Mariners. The 27-year-old slashed .241/.391/.462 with four home runs and an .852 OPS through his first 198 PA of the year. He joins a long list of injured players on Seattle’s roster, including fellow shortstop Shawn O'Malley, who isn’t expected back until August after undergoing arthroscopic shoulder surgery last month.
Without Segura, the Mariners are expected to utilize Taylor Motter at short for the time being. Minor league infielder Tyler Smith was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on Friday and made his big league debut at second base, but could shoulder some shortstop duties with Motter over the coming weeks as well.
Bryce Harper, who said he was tired after taking his cuts in the first round, certainly appeared gassed in the final round. So, too, did his dad, who was throwing to him. But Harper caught fire, going on a tear and tying Kyle Schwarber with 18 home runs before time expired in the final round of the 2018 Home Run Derby. Harper unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time by hitting two home runs at least 440 feet. With his second swing in bonus time, Harper homered to straightaway center field for No. 19. He tossed his bat in celebration, grabbed his trophy, then gave it to his dad before he was mobbed on the field by his All-Star teammates.
Harper hit 13 home runs in the first round, eliminating Freddie Freeman and advancing to the semifinals. In the semis, Harper topped Max Muncy 13-12 to advance to the finals. On Schwarber’s side of the bracket, he bested Alex Bregman 16-15, then defeated Rhys Hoskins 21-20.
Harper is the first member of the Nationals (or Expos) to win the Home Run Derby. Harper participated in the 2013 Derby but finished in second place behind Yoenis Céspedes. Harper is also the first left-handed hitter to win the Derby since Prince Fielder in 2012. The only players to win the Derby in their home park are Todd Frazier in 2015 and Ryne Sandberg in 1990.
As a spectator, the 2018 Home Run Derby was tons of fun. The four-minute clock adds a lot of tension and intrigue even to the initial rounds. Seeing teammates cheer and get excited for their teammates in the Derby is really fun. Of course, watching dinger after dinger is cool, too. Can’t wait for next year.