Jose Altuve
AP Photo

José Altuve exits game with hamstring discomfort

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Astros second baseman José Altuve was removed from Friday’s game against the Rangers after suffering some pain in his left hamstring. As the extent of his injury has yet to be determined, he’s presumed to be day-to-day for the time being.

In the bottom of the first inning, Altuve stepped up to bat and bounced a 2-2 Lance Lynn fastball out to third base, then hustled to beat the throw for an infield single. From the replay, it wasn’t clear which of his movements triggered the injury, but he was soon lifted for pinch-runner Aledmys Díaz and exited the field to undergo further evaluation.

Altuve entered Friday’s game batting a modest .238/.325/.469 with nine home runs, 21 RBI, and a .794 OPS through 163 PA in 2019. This is the first injury he’s sustained so far this season, and one the Astros will keep a close eye on before clearing the six-time All-Star infielder to return to the lineup.

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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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.