The Athletics placed third baseman Matt Chapman on the 10-day disabled list with right hand soreness, per an announcement on Friday. An MRI revealed no structural damage in the infielder’s hand, but the team will take things slow with what appears to be a lengthy recovery process. No concrete timetable for his return has been announced yet.
Chapman, 25, is in his second full season with the A’s. While he’s known more for his stellar glovework than his pop at the plate, he batted a healthy .250/.346/.447 with 10 home runs and a .793 OPS through his first 280 plate appearances of 2018. According to comments made by the infielder on Thursday, he had been playing through the pain in his right hand since spring training, though the issue appears to date back to last September.
It’s unclear what sort of short-term and long-term solutions the Athletics are currently considering for their star third baseman, but in the interim, Chad Pinder and Jed Lowrie are expected to split time at the hot corner. In a corresponding move, the A’s also recalled top prospect Franklin Barreto from Triple-A Nashville. The 22-year-old Barreto got off to an underwhelming start in Triple-A this season, slashing .236/.335/.441 with seven homers in 186 PA; in his first major-league stint of the year, he went 0-for-5 with a walk and three strikeouts.
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.