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Charlie Manuel: ‘I told [Harper] I didn’t tell Hamels to hit him’

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Back in 2012, then-Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was just a rookie while then-Phillies starter Cole Hamels was in his seventh season. Harper, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, had a reputation for being arrogant. That, perhaps, had something to do with a 2009 Sports Illustrated feature comparing him to LeBron James. Accurate or not, Harper and all the hype surrounding him rubbed some players the wrong way. Hamels was one of them.

Harper debuted in the majors on April 28, 2012 against the Dodgers. He played the Phillies not long after, facing Hamels on May 6. In Harper’s first at-bat against Hamels, in the bottom of the first inning, Hamels hit him with a first-pitch fastball. Harper advanced to third base on a Jayson Werth single. Then, in true Harper fashion, he stole home to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead. He would add a single and a double in his next three at-bats as well.

After the game, Hamels admitted to throwing at Harper intentionally, something players almost never do. “I was trying to hit him. I’m not going to deny it,” he said. Hamels was suspended five games for his actions. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo called Hamels “fake tough.” While the Hamels-Harper incident had all the makings of stirring a rivalry, 2012 was the last season in which the Phillies finished .500 or better. The Nationals reached the playoffs four times since 2012, finishing above .500 in all seven seasons.

All these years later, Harper is a Phillie after signing a 13-year, $330 million contract. Charlie Manuel, who managed the team until near the end of the 2013 season, now works as a senior advisor to general manager Matt Klentak. That 2012 incident was still on Manuel mind, apparently. Prior to Saturday afternoon’s press conference in which Harper was introduced as a Phillie, Manuel said, via The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, “I told [Harper] I didn’t tell Hamels to hit him.”

We finally have closure, almost seven years after the fact.

Carlos Martínez underwent ‘small procedure’ on right shoulder

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Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak confirmed on Sunday, to KMOX/1120 AM and StlToday.com, that pitcher Carlos Martínez underwent a “small procedure” to address discomfort in his right shoulder and encourage healing as well as a platelet-rich plasma injection.

Martínez, 28, began experiencing shoulder issues in 2018 which impacted his ability to pitch deep into games. Upon his return from the injured list in late August that year, the club moved him into the bullpen. He remained in the bullpen for 2019, making his season debut in May, and had a successful year, racking up 24 saves with a 3.17 ERA and a 53/18 K/BB ratio in 48 1/3 innings.

Martínez wants to start again and the Cardinals have said they will afford him the opportunity. He is expected to be on track to participate in spring training as usual.