Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper showed plenty of pop Thursday in his first on-field batting practice since undergoing ligament surgery on his left thumb last month, but he's still a way off from returning to the big league club.
"Honestly, we almost ran out of baseballs," Manager Matt Williams said.
Williams said Harper will begin a minor league rehab assignment after the Nationals begin a trip next week.
Added Harper: "I'm still trying to see where my swing's at. … I don't see myself coming back after five games or four games. I really want to push it and see how I feel after eight, nine games down there. If I feel good before that, then I'll see where I'm at."
The Toronto Blue Jays placed left-handed reliever Brett Cecil on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left groin and recalled right-hander Steve Delabar from triple-A Buffalo. Delabar, who was sent down Tuesday, and Cecil were both All-Stars last season. In addition, Blue Jays infielder Brett Lawrie was out of the lineup against the New York Yankees after getting hit on the back of his left hand by a pitch Wednesday night. X-rays were negative but Manager John Gibbons said Lawrie's hand was swollen and he couldn't grip a bat.
The Tampa Bay Rays have placed outfielder David DeJesus on the 15-day disabled list with a broken left hand. The Rays also activated outfielder Brandon Guyer, who had been sidelined by a broken left thumb, from the 15-day DL in moves made before Thursday night's game against Houston. DeJesus was hurt on a check-swing in Wednesday's game against Baltimore. One day earlier, he ran hard into the left-field wall chasing a grand slam hit by Orioles slugger Chris Davis.