After being diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks will undergo Tommy John surgery on Wednesday, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Carlos Martínez will take over closing duties.
Hicks, 22, likely won’t return to action until the second half of the 2020 season. Prior to the injury, Hicks accrued 14 saves with a 3.14 ERA and a 31/11 K/BB ratio in 28 2/3 innings.
It was initially believed that John Gant would take over as the closer. Perhaps his struggles on Sunday, when he allowed four runs in one-third of an inning against the Angels, colored the decision.
Martínez, 27, made his season debut on May 18. In 13 appearances, the right-hander has allowed five earned runs on 11 hits and five walks with 14 strikeouts in 15 innings.
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.