Phillies’ Bryce Harper faces lefty for first time in latest rehab

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CHICAGO — Philadelphia All-Star slugger Bryce Harper faced a left-hander for the first time in his quest to return sooner from Tommy John surgery.

“I’m going to keep pushing the envelope and trying to do everything I can to be ready,” Harper said after facing Ranger Suarez prior to the doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox.

This marked only the second time Harper has faced live pitching, and he admitted “I still need to get into the grind of things.”

Harper saw 16 pitches, and he hit a fly to center, grounded to second base, fouled three pitches and swung and missed three times against Suarez.

“I wish Ranger was throwing a little more pitches at a time,” Harper said of Suarez, who is recovering from a left forearm injury. “I want to see more. At the same time, I want to be smart, too, with who I’m facing.

“I don’t want to face a guy from low-A and get blown up in the hand or anything like that. I just want to be smart with whom I’m facing, what I’m doing, when we’re doing it.”

Harper declined to say whether he was ahead of schedule in his recovery, but his work at first could suggest he could return sooner than June. He still has yet to be medically cleared to play any position until he can resume throwing.

“I don’t want to get out there and not play to my ability unless I can do it,” Harper said.

Harper also is mindful of sliding feet first and not risking an injury to his right elbow.

“If I slide head first and hit my right arm on the ground, it’s the same thing,” Harper said. “I could sprain my arm and be out for five to seven months. There’s no reason to rush that. I need to be smart in what I do. I’m not going to rush anything out there because it does nothing good for our team or organization if I come back the fastest and not the smartest in what I do.”

Ohtani homers twice, including career longest at 459 feet, Angels beat White Sox 12-5

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CHICAGO (AP) Shohei Ohtani homered in consecutive innings, including a 459-foot drive that was the longest of his Major League Baseball career, and drove in four runs to lead the Los Angeles Angels over the Chicago White Sox 12-5 Wednesday.

Mike Trout put the Angels ahead 2-0 with a 476-foot home run in the first that was four rows shy of clearing the left field bleachers. Taylor Ward also went deep as the Angels hit four two-run homers plus a solo shot.

“Those are the guys you lean on,” manager Phil Nevin said. “They can certainly put the team on their backs and carry us and that’s what they did today.”

Ohtani drove a first-pitch fastball from Lance Lynn (4-6) just to left of straightaway center in the third, where the ball was dropped by a fan who tried to glove it. That 425-foot drive put the Angels ahead 4-1.

Lynn didn’t even bother to turn and look when Ohtani hit a full count fastball more than a dozen rows over the bullpen in right-center in the fourth. The two-way Japanese star is batting .269 with 15 homers and 38 RBIs to go along with a 5-1 record and 2.91 ERA.

“I’m feeling good right now,” Ohtani said through a translator. “I’m putting good swings on pitches I should be hitting hard.”

Ohtani increased his career total to 13 multihomer games with his first this season.

Trout pulled a hanging curve for his 13th home run. Ward hit a two-run homer against Jesse Scholtens in the seventh and Chad Wallach, pinch hitting for Ohtani, had a solo homer in the ninth off Garrett Crochet.

“Usually when that happens, we’re in a good spot to win,” Trout said.

Trout and Ohtani have homered in the same game for the fifth time this season. The Angels hit a pair of 450-foot or more home runs in the same game for the first time since Statcast started tracking in 2015.

Lynn allowed eight runs, eight hits and two walks while hitting two batters in four innings, raising his ERA to 6.55. He has given up 15 home runs, one short of the major league high of Kansas City’s Jordan Lyles. Lynn had won his previous three starts.

“It seemed like he didn’t get away with any today,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “Just one of those days, man.”

Jaime Barria (2-2) gave up one run and four hits in five innings with six strikeouts and two walks.

Los Angeles won two of three from the White Sox after being swept by Miami last weekend.

Jake Burger homered for Chicago, which has lost four of five. Burger hit his 11th homer in the ninth and Hanser Alberto had a two run double off Tucker Davidson.

Chicago’s Romy Gonzalez, who’d homered in three straight games, went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.


Twenty-three people became naturalized U.S. citizens during a pregame swearing-in behind home plate.


Angels: Trout fouled a pitch off his right leg in the fourth but remained in the game.

White Sox: INF Elvis Andrus (strained left oblique) and RHP Mike Clevinger (right wrist inflammation) are close to returning but Grifol wouldn’t elaborate on either player’s status.


Angels: Reid Detmers (0-4, 4.93) starts Thursday’s series opener at Houston against fellow LHP Framber Valdez (5-4, 2.38).

White Sox: Have not announced a starter for Friday’s series opener against visiting Detroit, which starts RHP Reese Olson in his major league debut. Olson is 2-3 with a 6.38 ERA in 10 starts at Triple-A Toledo.

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