Somehow, Bryce Harper is OK after being hit in the cheek and nose with a 97 mph sinker from Génesis Cabrera during Wednesday night’s victory against the St. Louis Cardinals. He was ruled out of Thursday’s games but it looks like the Phillies are avoiding a worse case scenario with their star right fielder.
Harper remained remarkably calm throughout the whole process. He walked off the field on his own and even updated fans via Instagram on his condition. If you saw his post without watching the game, you would be shocked to find out a pitch that nearly topped triple digits pelted him in the face based on his demeanor.
According to Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, Harper reached out to Cabrera with an empathetic text message following the night. Shildt was so impressed with Harper’s gesture that he mentioned it unprompted during a postgame news conference with the St. Louis media.
“You want to talk about a first-class move,” Shildt said on Harper’s text to Cabrera. “look, the guy is an excellent player. He’s got a trajectory that puts him in a pretty special place after this career, which is still going to be a long one.
“Whoever is a fan of Bryce Harper, or whoever has children that are fans of Bryce Harper, support that guy because what he sent over in a message today was completely a class act. He wanted to make sure that Génesis knew that he was aware it was unintentional and that if he needed to talk and make sure he was OK mentally about what took place, then he was free to have the conversation with him. He had empathy for the guy that hit him, so a lot of respect for Bryce Harper and a lot of respect for the kind of player he is, but even more respect now for the way he handled a tough situation.”
Cabrera apologized to Harper on Wednesday in a postgame news conference via Cardinals Spanish interpreter Antonio Mujica.
“I want to apologize for all the action that happened, especially to Harper,” Cabrera said. “I really wish him the best. I hope he has a speedy recovery, whatever it is that happened and him being able to return to baseball activities. The game got away from me at that point and I’m really sorry for everything that happened today. None of it was intentional.”
Harper’s sincerity in this situation is refreshing, especially considering the talk surrounding Thursday’s game revolved around whether or not the Phillies would retaliate against the Cardinals. Shildt believes Héctor Neris intentionally plunked Nolan Arenado in the ninth inning of Thursday’s game, but he respected the way Neris and the Phillies handled the situation.
“I’m sure they’ll deny it, that’s fine too,” Shildt said. “Understand that completely. That’s smart, actually. But [Neris] did it right. He took one shot and he got him low.”
As far as Harper’s availability going forward, Girardi said postgame that he’ll be re-evaluated when the team arrives in Philadelphia. It’s unclear whether or not he’ll return to the lineup Friday night against the Mets.
Didi Gregorius, who was also hit-by-a-pitch in Wednesday’s game, was out of Thursday’s game. According to Girardi, Gregorius “loosened up” as the day went along and feels good about where he is at.
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