Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tight lower back sidelines Harper

US Presswire photo
Bryce Harper went 0-for-3 with a walk yesterday against the Red Sox.
Updated at 12:52 p.m.

BOSTON -- For the first time since he made his major-league debut six weeks ago, Bryce Harper is not in the Nationals' starting lineup.

The 19-year-old outfielder wasn't listed among Davey Johnson's starting nine for today's series finale against the Red Sox, a benching the manager said was due to "tightness or stiffness" in his lower back.

"I don't think it's anything, but it was bothering him a little bit after [Saturday's] game," Johnson said. "[Bench coach] Randy Knorr came in to me and said Bryce is hurt. The trainer came in and said the same thing. I think because of who he is, those guys notice anything that goes on, just like you guys do. But Bryce hasn't said anything to me. We're just being on the safe side."

Harper had started all 37 games since his promotion from Class AAA Syracuse on April 28, playing in all but one inning (after he slammed his bat against the dugout wall in Cincinnati and cut his left eye).

Johnson first mentioned the possibility of a back issue following Thursday's game, when Harper made a diving attempt for a ball in right field and hunched over in apparent discomfort. Harper insisted he was fine, and he showed no ill effects Friday night when he went 3-for-5 with a homer and a double in his Fenway Park debut.

Harper, who went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts Saturday, insisted again he's fine and clearly wasn't happy with his manager's decision to give him the day off.

"[Jon] Lester's on the mound, so I was pretty excited to face him," the rookie said. "I like lefties. Whatever. Whatever they want to do. Nothing I can do."

Johnson said he doesn't mind a player being upset about being forced to sit for a day, though he also wants them to understand when it's appropriate to reveal a medical issue to their manager.

"When a coach vocally says his back's bothering him and the trainer says the same thing, normally I don't have coaches and trainers saying that about players," Johnson said. "I'm weighing it with just like you guys are here asking about it right now. But anybody that has a little something going on, nip it in the bud and be on the safe side, give him a day."

Harper did take batting practice in the cage underneath Fenway Park and is available to pinch-hit. Johnson said he expects his outfielder to return to the lineup Monday in Toronto.

"This is nothing other than just being precautionary. Give him a day. I anticipate he'll be in the lineup tomorrow."

39 comments:

Sam said...

Puuuuke. Our lineup today boasts 3 average-to-above average Major League hitters. This is not what I was hoping for when I shelled out $220 to go to today's game at Fenway.

Sam said...

Having said that, I will still wear my Zimmermann jersey proudly. And it was great to see the large turnout of Nationals fans at the park yesterday!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Roger Bernadina in a leftylefty ?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Flores gets the start over Solano

Scooter said...

SELL SELL SELL!!!1!!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

change the rules let JZim hit so Bernadina doesn't have to.,

Grandstander said...

There's only 3 players who can play centerfield and none of them are righties. I guess Davey heard our pleas of playing Bernadina over Ankiel (who has gone 2 for 15 with 7 Ks in his last 4 starts).

This lineup really accentuates how big Harper looks in our everyday lineup.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Grandstander, true, and only Bryce hits lefties well. Poor timing to rest Bryce. Good luck Shark.

JT said...

This gives the sweep demons fuel. It looks like another 2 out of 3 series. GO NATS...prove me wrong, please!!

Doc said...

I guess even a 19 yr. old kid with great energy and talent needs a break once in a while.

Still he'll be missed. I count on watching him every time I tune in. Maybe he'll come off the bench and do some damage later in the game???

joe9 said...

I thought I saw him wince on a couple of swings in his last, or next to last, at bat yesterday. It may have been frustration at missing the ball or it may have been pain. Let's hope for the former.

joe9 said...

Sam, your comment about going to today's game reminds of my birthday two years ago when my wife shelled out big bucks for us to see Stras pitch and instead we saw Miss Iowa. He/she did pitch great though. So, you never know what you'll get.

sjb said...

It's not a bad idea to rest Bryce once in awhile, just like the other regulars. I remember talk on this board not too long ago that LaRoche could use a day off. Of course, Bryce is going to insist he's healthy, right til he goes on the DL (not that I anticpate that happening soon).

Generally, our motto should be "In Davey We Trust". The man really hasn't put a foot wrong sonce he took over. Remember how he insisted from Day 1 of spring training that Bryce Harper was ready for the majors? I didn't believe him, you likely didn't believe him, Mark Z didn't believe him, Boz didn't believe him, and apparently neither did Rizzo. If it hadn't been for the injury plague he still might be down there, but Davey was right. If he thinks Bryce now needs a day off, I'm not going to second guess him.

rogieshan said...

I guess Ripken's iron-man streak will have to wait.

mick said...

The boy needs some rest, not a big deal.

SCNatsFan said...

On a bright note at least we have a pinch hitter who isn't Ankiel

Candide said...

As hard as Ban Ban plays, I think it's just good personnel management to sit him down now and then whether he admits to being sore or not.

Candide said...

Dam spell checker. It's BAM BAM.

Candide said...

And it's DAMN, not dam.

Yeesh...

baseballswami said...

I feel like we always let up when we win the first two or when Jordan is pitching. It's like we throw everything at Strassie and Gio and then take our foot off the gas. But then, who knows? On any given day anything can happen in baseball.

jeffwx said...

The speedy X man batting 2nd. audacious.

djinFl. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
djinFl. said...

I am hoping for the NI jinx to kick in. Seems the more we dislike a lineup, the better they perform.

NatsLady said...

Well, at least we have our good infield. JZ's groundball % is the 2nd among our starters (52.1%), slightly lower than CMW (52.9%--although the sample size for him is small).

Although he's given up the most homeruns, he also has the lowest walk rate (1.41 walks per 9 innings) so most of the home runs have been solos.

Here are the stats on our rotation from fangraphs:

Fangraphs nationals starters

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=sta&lg=all&qual=0&type=8&season=2012&month=0&season1=2012&ind=0&team=24&rost=0&age=0&players=0

Faraz Shaikh said...

following dj's advice, this lineup sucks. i doubt we put up a run. i bet nady, bernie, and moore go 0-for today.

NatsLady said...

Rizzo on the radio said Davey is the master at losing one game so the Nats win the next five. OK, so maybe that's the strategy. Poor Jordan! Surprised he even gets Flores.

MicheleS said...

yup.. sticking with the theme today.. This is a poop stick of a lineup and JZ NEVER gets a chance for run support..

That said.. GYNG!!!

NatsLady said...

Looking for Gio, but they are running something called "Prime 9" and apparently Baseball Tonight is not coming on until 1:00. Don't have problem skipping Nats Xtra, if in fact that's the case...

MicheleS said...

ESPN NatsLady...

jeffwx said...

That's why this interleague stuff can be messy. NL teams usually carry one less big hitter (rather a bench player) cause they need more in the bullpen. AL have more options for their lineup.

NatsLady said...

Oh, Ok, thanks.

Faraz Shaikh said...

what's the prime 9 for,NL?

SonnyG10 said...

Heeeey, that's a good lineup. All Nats players! :)

MicheleS said...

FS.. Gio is on ESPN2 (sorry NatsLady, the main one has soccer). in about 2 minutes

timeless46 said...

I see a late-inning pinch hit home run. I mean, what else hasn't he done. ....... Get some rest Bryce and .... please ... take care of that back .....!!

NatsLady said...

ESPN2 on my cable (soccer on ESPN). There he is!!!

NatsLady said...

Prime 9 is baseball history.

NatsLady said...

The oddsmakers agree with you, Boston heavily favored (-155 to -160) to win. Hey, place your bets and let's prove them wrong!!!

Faraz Shaikh said...

thanks NatsLady.

And MicheleS. Can't watch it though.

hope we at least put one run on board.

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