Tropicana Field influenced a misjudgment from Blue Jays right fielder Randal Grichuk, leading to an inside-the-park solo home run for Rays DH Avisaíl García in the bottom of the third inning Tuesday night. Ahead two balls and no strikes against Clayton Richard, García popped up a fastball to shallow right field. García hung his head in disappointment for not hitting the ball well. Grichuk lost the ball in Tropicana Field’s roof. The ball ended up dropping some 30 feet behind him, bouncing all the way to the fence in the right field corner. García came all the way around to score, boosting the Rays’ lead to 2-0. They would go on to win 3-1.
Tropicana Field is frequently the cause of baseball’s stranger plays. Along with players losing track of the baseball in the white roof, fly balls have been known to strike speakers and catwalks. The ground rules for the Rays’ digs are interesting, to say the least.
Though it may be obvious to seasoned baseball fans, it is worth pointing out that García was indeed credited with a home run and Grichuk was not charged with an error.
García also singled and scored in the first inning, finishing 2-for-4 on the evening. The Yankees lost to the Padres 5-4 on Tuesday, so the Rays picked up a game in the standings and are now only one game behind the first-place Yankees in the AL East.
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.