Washington Nationals outfield sensation Bryce Harper would rather play than take the day off.
Mired in a 0-for-18 slump at the plate, Nats manager Davey Johnson told Harper he would be benched Saturday so that he can rest his body after returning from the disabled list Monday.
Harper texted him a tongue-in-cheek message Friday night that read: "Play me or trade."
Johnson chatted with Harper Saturday morning to see where the outfielderís head was at.
"I explained to him the body language I see if someone is mentally beat up or tired physically," Johnson told the Washington Post.
"I said, 'I can't imagine you ever being either one of those.' But my job when that happens is the best way I know to rest them up and sit them next to me... And so since trading is out of the question, I guess Iím going to play him," smiled Johnson
Harper explained why he wanted to continue playing despite the slump.
"I just went in and told him I want to play," he said. "And we talked a little bit and he put me back in the lineup. Happy to be back in there."
DODGERS ACQUIRE RIGHTY NOLASCO
The Los Angeles Dodgers bolstered their starting pitching staff on Saturday night with the acquisition of right-hander Ricky Nolasco in a trade with the Miami Marlins.
In addition to Nolasco, the Dodgers also received the Marlins' No. 96 international signing slot worth $197,000. Going the other way is minor league pitching prospects Steve Ames, Josh Wall and Angel Sanchez.
Nolasco, a southern California native who is the Marlins' career leader in wins, was elated to be going home.
"I'm definitely excited," Nolasco told MLB.com. "It's L.A., the team that I grew up going to the games as a kid and stuff. It's kind of surreal now, until I'm actually there. It will take time to sink in, but I'm definitely excited. My whole family couldn't be happier. I'll try to blend in as quickly as I can."
Nolasco, who also was being pursued by the San Francisco Giants, becomes a free agent after the season.
He is in the final year of a three-year, $26.5 million contract and is making $11.5 million this season.
CHIPPER CHIRPS UMP
Add former Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones to the long list of umpire Angel Hernandez's critics.
Jones, who retired at the end of last season, sent out a series of tweets Friday that were critical of the job Hernandez is doing.
"Didn't take Angel long to screw up the strike zone, did it??? Hang with em, Simba!!!" Jones wrote early during the Braves' 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Jones then took a stand, promising to boycott any game umpired by Hernandez.
"I will not watch a game, any game, officiated by Angel Hernandez! His incompetence amazes me and I'm tired of MLB doing squat about it! Nite."
On May 8, Hernandez ruled a ninth inning ball a double by Aís second baseman Adam Rosales.
Video replays showed the ball to be a home run after it appeared to hit the railing above the yellow line, which separates the balls in play and home runs.
The call of double was upheld upon video review, eventually robbing the Athletics of a game-tying run in their 4-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
MOLINA HAS KNEE CHECKED
St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who had the day off Saturday against the Miami Marlins, left the ballpark late in the game to have his right knee checked.
Team doctors wanted to take a look at the National League batting leader to determine the cause of soreness that started late Friday.
"We just want to rule things out and get a good look at it," Cards manager Mike Matheny told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Molina had the same knee surgically repaired in 2007.
Molina, who is batting .346 with six home runs and 45 RBIs, is expected to get a few days off to rest the ailing knee.
The Philadelphia Phillies placed first-baseman Ryan Howard on the 15-day disabled list due to knee inflammation Ö The New York Yankees activated infielder Eduardo Nunez from the 60-day disabled list Saturday and placed right-hander David Phelps on the 15-day DL with a right forearm sprain ... The Cleveland Indians recalled right-handed pitcher Carlos Carrasco from Triple-A and optioned right-hander Joe Martinez to Columbus.
-- with files from The Sports Xchange