Getty Images

Luiz Gohara bumped from Braves’ rotation battle with ankle injury

2 Comments

Left-handed pitching prospect Luiz Gohara may no longer be competing for a spot in the Braves’ Opening Day rotation, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com. The southpaw was scheduled to pitch his first Grapefruit League start on Sunday, but will be forced to sit out after spraining his left ankle during pitchers’ drills on Friday afternoon. It’s still unclear how severely the injury will impact his upcoming season with the club, though David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution adds that the team is expected to reevaluate his progress in two weeks.

This is the second injury Gohara has suffered this spring after working his way back from a groin strain several weeks ago. The 21-year-old was poised to enter his sophomore season with the club following his major league debut last year, when he pitched to a 1-3 record in five starts with a 4.91 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 9.5 SO/9 over 29 1/3 innings. He was ranked no. 4 in the Braves’ system by MLB Pipeline last month and currently grades as the team’s top left-handed prospect.

Without Gohara, Bowman notes, the competition for the final two spots in the Braves’ starting rotation has opened back up. Southpaw Sean Newcomb is the presumed favorite for the fourth slot, but the fifth could be claimed by any number of candidates, including veteran lefty Scott Kazmir, no. 7 prospect Max Fried, or right-handers Matt Wisler, Aaron Blair or Lucas Sims.

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

Getty Images
3 Comments

Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.

Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.

Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.