The weekend was a dangerous time for playoff-bound superstars in the National League, with both Bryce Harper and Nolan Arenado suffering injuries that caused Nationals and Rockies fans, respectively, to see their lives flash before their eyes.
Harper suffered the most serious injury, hyper-extending his left knee while slipping on a wet first base on Saturday, a play that looked much more gruesome at the time. Washington, owners of a 13½-game lead in the National League East — and 13 games back of the Dodgers — placed Harper on the 10-day disabled list on Sunday.
But the relatively good news is that there was no reported damage to Harper’s knee ligaments. With the large division lead, Harper will likely get extended rest to be ready for the playoffs, with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo telling reporters, "We feel we've dodged a bullet a bit here."
In the NL West, Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado was hit in the left hand by a fastball from Vance Worley in the fifth inning on Sunday, and immediately left the game.
X-rays were negative, however, so Colorado — tied with the Diamondbacks for the top wild card spot in the NL -- dodged their own bullet. Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post has more:
“It’s kind of tough to move my pinkie right now,” he said. “But it is what it is. They don’t think I’ll have to (go on the DL), but we will see over the next couple of days. We’ll see if I can start gripping a bat. If not, then there is that possibility.”
After he was hit, Arenado was in considerable pain and almost immediately left the field and went into the Rockies’ clubhouse.
“Anytime (a player) gets hit in the hand, you are always concerned, for sure,” manager Bud Black said. “Players instinctively know that they can be in trouble. I think that’s why you saw that Nolan’s path was right from the dugout. … So that told me that this was a pretty direct hit and that we might have some trouble. So in the long run, it’s great news.”
Harper is hitting .326/.419/.614 with 29 home runs this season, while Arenado is hitting .311/.361/.585 with 26 home runs. Harper ranks third in the National League in FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement (5.1) with Arenado (3.8) 12th, while Arenado is third in the Baseball-Reference version (5.1) with Harper seventh (4.6).
More Green in San Diego
The Padres on Sunday extended the contract of manager Andy Green for three more seasons. He was already under contract through next season, but now is in the fold until 2021.
San Diego entered the season in full tank mode at the major league level, including carrying three Rule 5 picks plus a rag-tag pitching staff. But even after dropping two of three games to the Dodgers over the weekend stand at a respectable 51-66 (.436) on the season, including 23-23 in their last 46 games.
"Andy's knowledge of the game and passion for his players has earned him respect in the clubhouse and throughout the organization,” general manager A.J. Preller said in a press release. “As we continue to build a system that produces winning baseball from top to bottom, I am confident that Andy provides the leadership and stability needed to deliver a championship to San Diego."
Howard signs with Colorado
The Rockies scratched a lottery ticket over the weekend, signing slugger Ryan Howard to a minor league contract, in hopes of bolstering their potential playoff roster with some left-handed power.
The 37-year-old Howard, who hit .196/.257/.453 with 25 home runs in 112 games with the Phillies in 2016, hasn’t played in the majors in 2017. On a minor league deal with the Braves earlier this season, Howard was 7-for-38 (.184) with a home run in 11 games for Triple-A Gwinnett.
Howard made his debut with Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday night, going 1-for-6 with a double and two strikeouts.
The Dodgers play American League teams this week, hosting the White Sox for two before traveling to meet the Tigers.
Arizona has a four-game home-and-home set with the best-in-AL Astros, followed by three games in Minnesota against the Twins.
The Rockies are home all week, facing the Braves for four game and the Brewers for three.