NL East Notes: Abrams, Harper, Knebel, Guillorme

Nationals’ infielder Luis Garcia has been dealing with a sore groin and may be headed to the injured list. Manager Dave Martinez relayed this info to Mark Zuckerman of, who added C.J. Abrams was pulled from the Rochester Red Wings lineup today. Dan J. Glickman of Pickin’ Splinters then relayed word from Red Wings manager Matt LeCroy that the removal of Abrams was on order of the big league club, with ESPN’s Jeff Passan later confirming that Abrams will indeed be called up.

Abrams, of course, was one of the pieces coming to Washington in the Juan Soto trade, with many considering him the centerpiece of Washington’s return in the deal. Abrams got some MLB time with the Padres this year, though the Nats initially optioned him to the minors after the trade. With Garcia’s injury, it seems like he is set to make his debut as a National, about two weeks after the trade.

Even before this injury popped up, recent reporting had suggested Abrams would take over at shortstop, with Garcia moving over to second base due to his poor defensive showing at short. Abrams should take over regular shortstop duty for now, with Garcia eventually slotting in next to him at the keystone whenever his groin heals. Currently considered the #11 prospect across the league by Baseball America, Abrams hasn’t hit much at the major league level yet, but he’s hit .310/.360/.480 in Triple-A this season. He’ll celebrate his 22nd birthday in October.

In other NL East news…

  • Phillies’ slugger Bryce Harper will take batting practice tomorrow for the first time since fracturing his thumb in June, with Matt Gelb of The Athletic relaying word from skipper Rob Thomson. Harper was dealing with torn UCL before that thumb issue, which had limited him to DH duties only. Though it was hoped the downtime from the thumb issue might lead to improvement in the elbow, that doesn’t seem to be the case, with the club just focusing on getting Harper’s bat back into the lineup for now. On that front, getting Harper back into BP is a notable step. Despite the torn UCL, Harper has hit .318/.385/.599 on the year for a wRC+ of 166. Getting him back to the Phils would obviously provide a huge boost down the stretch, as the club looks to battle its way through a tough postseason race with less than two months now remaining on the schedule.
  • While the progress of Harper is good news, the Phillies also got some bad news today. Reliever Corey Knebel left today’s game with a lat strain, the team announced to reporters, including Gelb. The severity isn’t yet known, with Knebel now slated for an MRI that will likely provide more information. The hurler has a 3.45 ERA on the season, though his 20.9% strikeout rate and 13.6% walk rates both represent career worsts. Things looked much rosier earlier this month, as Knebel had a 2.59 ERA until a five-run outing on August 2. Taking that one outing away would certainly make his numbers look better, though the lack of punchouts and increased free passes are still concerning.
  • The Mets announced to reporters, including Tim Britton of The Athletic, that infielder Luis Guillorme left today’s game with left groin tightness. He will undergo imaging tomorrow. Though it’s unclear how serious the issue is, the timing is unfortunate as the Mets’ infield has been taking a beating of late. Both Eduardo Escobar and Jeff McNeil had to leave Friday’s game due to injuries, which forced the club to turn to outfield Mark Canha as an emergency third baseman. Escobar relieved Guillorme today and McNeil started the game, so it doesn’t appear terribly dire. However, the club may have to consider adding another infielder to the roster in order to build in some rest for such a banged-up group.

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