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Stephen Piscotty left Friday’s game with a right groin strain

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Cardinals’ outfielder Stephen Piscotty suffered a groin injury during the ninth inning of the club’s 5-2 loss to the Pirates on Friday night. Piscotty fielded a fly ball from Josh Harrison for the first out of the inning and appeared to injure himself on the throw from the outfield. He was officially diagnosed with a right groin strain following the game, but the club has yet to report the severity of the strain or release a timetable for his return.

Piscotty, 26, has struggled to produce this season while dealing with several setbacks, including a hamstring strain, knee soreness and forearm tightness. He batted .240/.353/.378 with six home runs and a .731 OPS through his first 269 PA and went 0-for-4 on Friday with two strikeouts against the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole and Felipe Rivero.

Rookie outfielder Jose Martinez replaced Piscotty to finish the rest of the game, which ended in the Pirates’ favor following an intentional walk to Andrew McCutchen and Josh Bell‘s three-run walk-off home run. With the loss, the Cardinals now sit six full games behind the division-leading Brewers and just half a game behind the second-place Cubs.

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
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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.