Watch video of Harper’s collision here.
Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper left Monday’s game against the Dodgers in the fifth inning after hitting an unppaded portion of the right-field wall face-first.
Harper took a semi-circular route in pursuit of a fly ball hit by A.J. Ellis, and didn’t realize he was out of room until he smacked face-first into the scoreboard embedded in the right-field wall. Harper’s hat flew backward as he fell backward, and he remained still on the warning track for some time before Nationals trainers reached him from the first-base dugout.
Harper walked of the field on his own power. Ellis reached third base on the hit, which was ruled a triple.
The ice under Brandon League‘s feet is thicker than you might think.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly offered his second unenthusiastic endorsement for closer Brandon League this homestand Monday, sounding no closer to a long-term solution to the Dodgers’ growing ninth-inning problem.
Asked if League was still the closer one day after giving up two runs in the ninth inning in a non-save situation against the Miami Marlins, Mattingly said, “Yeah, for right now he is. I hate to say it like that but yeah, for now.”
Zack Greinke hasn’t pitched for the Dodgers since he fractured his clavicle in this brawl on April 11 in San Diego. He’s still a possibility to return Wednesday. (Associated Press)
The coaches, managers and physicians may know where Zack Greinke is pitching on Wednesday, but it remained a state secret as of Monday afternoon. Greinke will either come off the disabled list to start against the Washington Nationals or make another rehabilitation start, likely for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, with Matt Magill starting for the Dodgers.
“We don’t want to wait too long” to announce where Greinke will pitch, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said, “we just want to make sure everybody’s on the same page, getting Ned’s input, Doc’s input, trainer’s input, Zack’s putting together what he — if he’s going to be able to pitch, what are the things we want him doing, we don’t want him doing. We just haven’t gotten all that together. So we’re not ready to say.”
Matt Kemp has evolved from a poor hitter to a singles hitter this season, and he may or may not be done evolving. (Associated Press)
Matt Kemp collected his 1,000th career hit yesterday afternoon. Good thing the Dodgers recognized the accomplishment on the video board, otherwise he might not have known until after the game.
Kemp collected the milestone hit on a single, which seems appropriate. Kemp has been stuck on one home run — against New York Mets phenom Matt Harvey, no less — for almost a month. If he hits one home run a month, Kemp will finish the season with six.
If I could have written more about Kemp in yesterday’s notebook, I might have touched on a number of topics that ESPN’s Buster Olney discussed in his podcast the other day, namely:
• Kemp is getting eaten alive by pitches down and away. His strikeout rate in that area is among the top five percent in the league.
• Kemp has less power. He’s lost 25 feet off his average fly ball.
• It’s not luck. His batting average on balls in play is .363, slightly above his .352 career average.
• Kemp seems to be avoiding putting stress on his left shoulder, just as he did last September when the shoulder was legitimately hurt.
Kemp started the year unable to hit the ball for power or average, so we could be looking at a snapshot moment in his road back from last year’s shoulder surgery. Maybe not. If we’re looking at the new Matt Kemp, how long before the Dodgers move him up (say, to 2nd) or down in the lineup?
Some more Monday bullet points:
Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis (left) had no problem wearing pink fingernail stickers on Mother’s Day weekend. (Getty Images)
A random note about today’s game …
A publicist for the company Game Signs, which makes the colored fingernail tape sometimes worn by catchers, issued a special Mother’s Day press release this week. It read, in part:
“… You will see several Major League Baseball catchers (including A.J. Ellis) with pink fingernails for Mother’s Day. These are a special Mother’s Day edition of a product from Game Signs, a nationwide provider of bright signal enhancement stickers for baseball catchers. In the spirit of accuracy, we are preemptively sending you this information as we are anticipating that grown men with pink fingernails playing baseball might turn the heads of a few people. The brightly colored signal enhancers are specially designed, durable, reflective, stickers that are applied to the fingernails of the catcher’s signaling hand.”
Mark Ellis ran closer to full speed today than he has since straining his right quadriceps muscle on April 26. The Dodgers second baseman looked good as he sprinted in the outfield under the watch of head athletic trainer Sue Falsone, and felt fine afterward.
“It’s not there yet but it’s getting close,” Ellis said. “It’s better than it was a couple days ago.”
Ellis hasn’t run the bases yet and that’s the next item to check off his rehab schedule. He won’t play in a minor-league rehabilitation game until that happens.
“We haven’t talked about when a rehab game would be,” Ellis said.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he thinks Ellis could return close to May 22, the final day of a six-game road trip to Atlanta and Milwuakee. May 23 is an off-day before the Dodgers return home for a five-game homestand.
Luis Cruz has fallen a long way from the stabilizing force at third base he was late last season. He may soon be falling further.
After more than 1,200 games and 10 years in the minor leagues prior to last season’s success with the Dodgers, Cruz doesn’t want to consider a move back to the minor leagues. His .090 batting average, his fifth straight game not in the starting lineup and the fact that infielders Mark Ellis and Jerry Hairston Jr. are soon to come off the disabled list could equal a demotion for the player that began the season with expectations to be the everyday third baseman.
“I don’t even think about the minors, cause that’s negative thinking,” Cruz said. “If there’s one thing I know, I can hit. I’ve been fighting for my spot my whole career, so I just got to be ready the next time they give me a shot.”
Paco Rodriguez fumbled for the words far too long before the Dodgers’ 22-year-old rookie reliever just gave up and laughed.
“If you would have asked me at this time last year if I would be in the major leagues today, I would have laughed at you,” Rodriguez said. “From one year to another, you know, your life changes completely.”
Exactly one year ago Saturday, the left-hander pitched two scoreless innings to close out a win for the University of Florida. The Dodgers’ second-round draft pick last year is not only the first player from the 2012 draft class to reach the major leagues, he sports the second-best earned-run average in the Dodgers’ bullpen. That’s not saying much considering Dodgers relievers have the fourth-highest collective ERA in the major leagues.
Can’t find the Dodgers game on TV?
Because the Kings’ game against the St. Louis Blues is airing tonight on Prime Ticket, the Dodgers’ game at 7:10 p.m. against the Miami Marlins will be moved to a Prime Ticket alternate channel.
The game is being made available to all cable, satellite and telco video providers in the Los Angeles market that currently carry Dodger games on Prime Ticket. Additionally, both “Dodgers Live” pre and post-game shows will be seen prior to and immediately following game coverage on these Prime Ticket alternate channels:
AT&T U-Verse — 69, 1694 (HD)
Comcast — 104
Cox Santa Barbara — 8
Cox Orange County — 3
Cox Palos Verdes — 3
DIRECTV — 689, 689-1 (HD)
Dish — 449, 9519 (HD)
Time Warner Cable: L.A. — HD 700
Time Warner Cable:
Desert Cities, Yucca, Banning — HD 590
Time Warner Cable: Barstow — HD 671
Verizon — 1
The Dodgers are telling fans to contact their provider, not the team, with any questions.