Bryce Harper is back in the Nationals’ lineup this afternoon against the Pirates after missing one game with a mild left hamstring strain. It’s safe to say he’s feeling pretty good.
With one out in the fourth inning, Harper launched a long solo home run off Francisco Liriano to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead. You can watch the video here.
With that blast, the 22-year-old Harper is up to 23 home runs on the year, which gives him a new career-high. He previously hit 22 home runs as a 19-year-old rookie in 2012. If he can stay healthy, he’s going to blow that total away.
The Angels have designated right-hander Matt Harvey for assignment, per an official announcement on Friday. It’s a predictable end to a rough campaign for the starter, who signed a one-year, $11 million deal with the club last December and has delivered a career-worst 7.09 ERA and -0.3 fWAR through the first half of the 2019 season.
Part of Harvey’s struggles can be traced back to the upper back strain he sustained in late May, an injury that kept him on the shelf for seven weeks and hampered his effectiveness when he was finally activated from the IL in July. Since his return, he’s gone 1-1 in two starts, allowing a cumulative seven runs, eight walks, and four strikeouts across 11 2/3 innings. Following his most recent start, a 6-2 loss to the Astros on Thursday, Harvey chalked up his struggles to “a couple bad pitches, a couple stupid pitches I made, thinking I can still throw it by people” and admitted that if he had pitched a little smarter, he would’ve left the Angels in a more advantageous position against their division rivals.
While he’s undoubtedly due for a tune-up on his mechanics, he won’t get that chance in Anaheim. Still, there’s undoubtedly a minor league contract with his name on it somewhere, assuming he passes through waivers unclaimed.
In subsequent roster moves, the Angels also optioned right-hander Jake Jewell to Triple-A Salt Lake and recalled righty Jaime Barria and lefty/first baseman Jared Walsh. Right-handed reliever Keynan Middleton was diagnosed with mild ulnar neuritis in his elbow and will continue to spend his recovery on the injured list.