LEADING OFF: Rookies Witt, Gorman and Harris draw attention
A look at what’s happening around the majors on Sunday:
Bobby Witt Jr. began the season as a highly rated prospect and looks like he’s starting to heat up. Fellow rookies Nolan Gorman and Michael Harris also are attracting attention.
A day after falling a double shy of the cycle, Witt hit three doubles Saturday as the Royals beat Minnesota 7-3. The 21-year-old shortstop has 41 hits this year — 22 for extra bases, including a team-best 13 doubles.
Gorman went 4 for 4, including his first major league homer, and drove in four runs to lead St. Louis over Milwaukee 8-3. A first-round draft pick in 2018, the 22-year-old second baseman is batting .360 in eight games since making his debut this season.
The 21-year-old Harris made his debut Saturday, going 1 for 3 and scoring a run for Atlanta in a 4-1 loss to Miami. The center fielder joined the Braves from Double-A Mississippi on Saturday.
Asked how Harris can help the Braves, manager Brian Snitker said, “Well, just the defensive part of it.”
NOT PHAM FRIENDLY
Reds outfielder Tommy Pham will finish out his three-game suspension, imposed by Major League Baseball after he slapped Giants outfielder Joc Pederson because of a dispute about their fantasy football league.
Pham will miss the series finale against San Francisco at Great American Ball Park. He also was fined.
The incident occurred while the Giants warmed up in the outfield Friday. Pham confronted Pederson and smacked him in the face before they were separated.
Pham said Saturday there was some “sketchy” stuff going on with the fantasy league, and added Pederson had made “disrespectful” comments about his former team, the San Diego Padres.
“We had too much money on the line, so I look at it like there’s a code,” Pham said. He also said Pederson was “messing with my money.”
Nationals star Stephen Strasburg makes his second rehab appearance for Class A Fredericksburg against the Salem Red Sox, this time with a target of 60-70 pitches. Strasburg, the 2019 World Series MVP, is coming back from thoracic outlet surgery last year. The right-hander also started Tuesday’s series opener against Salem and threw 62 pitches over 2 2/3 innings. He gave up three runs, struck out three and walked four.
COME BACK SOON
The Mets hope center fielder Brandon Nimmo will return to the lineup for their series finale against Zack Wheeler and the rival Phillies in prime time.
Nimmo didn’t start Saturday because of a sore right wrist. An MRI came back clean, but manager Buck Showalter said the leadoff man may require an injection. Either way, Showalter was optimistic Nimmo would be back within a day or two. Nimmo has a 10-game hitting streak and a .386 on-base percentage for the season.
Wheeler is set for his 10th start versus his former team. He’s 4-2 with a 2.58 ERA against the Mets since signing a $118 million, five-year deal with Philadelphia before the 2020 season.
It will be the 12th meeting already this season between the NL East foes. After this one, they won’t play again until Aug. 12.
CY YOUNG WINNER AVAILABLE
Dallas Keuchel is on the market after the veteran left-hander was designated for assignment Saturday by the Chicago White Sox.
The 34-year-old Keuchel is 2-5 with a 7.88 ERA in eight starts this season. He signed a $55.5 million, three-year contract with Chicago in December 2019.
Keuchel is owed $14,456,044 for the remainder of his contract: $12,956,044 in salary for the rest of this season, plus a $1.5 million buyout of his 2023 option. If he is released, another team could sign him for a prorated share of the $700,000 minimum, with the White Sox responsible for the rest.
Keuchel won the AL Cy Young Award in 2015, going 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA for the Houston Astros. He is 101-87 with a 3.86 ERA in 262 career games, including 251 starts.
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