2013 Preview: Chicago Cubs

2013 Preview: Chicago Cubs

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2013 season. Up next: The Chicago Cubs. The Big Question: Is Theo Epstein pushing the Cubs any closer to contention? He most definitely is,…

AFC North: Steelers LB James Harrison will return for 2016


AFC North: Steelers LB James Harrison will return for 2016

The Ravens can expect to see Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison as an opponent again in 2016. Harrison confirmed on his Instagram account Monday that he would return for another season.

Harrison will turn 38 years old Wednesday (May 4), but he was still effective in 2015 with five sacks and 40 tackles playing in the Steelers’ linebacker rotation. With his announcement that he was returning, Harrison wrote “I’m feeling just like a fine wine. Getting better with age.”

Despite Harrison’s age, the Steelers believe they got younger and better on defense through the draft. Five of the Steelers’ seven picks were on defense – cornerback Artie Burns (first round), safety Sean Davis (second), defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (third round), outside linebacker Travis Feeney (sixth round), and inside linebacker Tyler Matakevich (seventh round).  

Clearly, there will be plenty of new names in the Ravens-Steelers rivalry, with both teams looking to get younger and faster. However, Harrison plans to be part of the mix for at least another season. The Ravens host the Steelers in Week 9, and visit the Steelers on Christmas afternoon.


Hardy headed to the disabled list with foot injury


Hardy headed to the disabled list with foot injury

BALTIMORE—J.J. Hardy will be out an estimated four to six weeks with a small fracture in his left foot according to an industry source. The Orioles shortstop suffered the fracture in the fourth inning of Sunday’s game when he fouled a ball off his foot. 

Hardy underwent a CT scan on Monday. 

RELATED: Kim's improved play winning over Showalter

As Hardy goes to the disabled list, the Orioles are planning to recall infielder Ryan Flaherty from Triple-A Norfolk. Flaherty was sent down to the Tides a week ago when the Orioles temporarily decided to go with 13 pitchers. 

For the last week, the Orioles have been playing without an extra infielder, and it’s known that manager Buck Showalter would like to have a four-man bench. 

Paul Janish could also be added to the 40-man roster, but he’s planning to go on paternity leave Wednesday. 

With Hardy out, Manny Machado could play shortstop and Flaherty or Pedro Alvarez could play third base. Chris Davis has also played third. 

If the Orioles would like to keep Machado at third, then Janish could play short when he returns from paternity leave. 

Zach Britton, who was scheduled to undergo an MRI on his left ankle Monday afternoon, is feeling much better, and is expected to avoid the disabled list. He could pitch in the series against the New York Yankees that begins Tuesday. 

Britton injured the ankle on Saturday night.

The organization’s top pitching prospect, Hunter Harvey, will undergo sports hernia surgery this week in Philadelphia. An examination determined that was the source of the groin injury that was bothering him this spring.

Harvey is expected to miss four to six weeks. 

Bryce Harper named NL player of the month for April


Bryce Harper named NL player of the month for April

Bryce Harper's hot start to the 2016 season has earned him the NL player of the month award for the month of April.

The Nats slugger saw his batting average dip to .286 by month's end, but finished April with nine homers, 24 RBI and six steals. Harper eclipsed the 100 career homers mark on April 14 and at one point hit a home run in four consecutive games. 

Other highlights from Harper's April include an eight game RBI steak, a six game streak of hitting home runs at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Harper's first career pinch-hit homer and his first two career grand slams. His first grand slam was on career homer No. 100.

The reigning NL MVP, Harper has won NL player of the month one other time in his career, in May of 2015. Max Scherzer also won the NL pitcher of the month award twice last season, in May and June.

Harper, 23, is batting .273/.390/.679 this season in 24 games. He was the co-NL player of the week for April 11-17 with Nolan Arenado of the Rockies.

Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles won the AL player of the month award for April.