VIERA, Fla. -- Bryce Harper will likely miss the Nationals' final two Grapefruit League games while letting his swollen left thumb heal, but the 20-year-old outfielder hopes to play Friday against the Yankees in Washington in advance of Opening Day on Monday.
Harper has been dealing with the issue since Friday, when he first was jammed by a pitch from Tigers left-hander Drew Smyly. He took one day off, returned to the lineup Sunday and continued a torrid streak at the plate in which he recorded nine consecutive base hits to raise his spring training batting average to .476.
But Harper again was jammed on a pitch from Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez during yesterday's game in Jupiter and was in considerable pain, though he was in better shape this morning.
"When I woke up this morning, it felt fine," he said. "Yesterday, it kind of got me a little. I thought it was going to be a lot worse when I woke up this morning. It wasn't. If I was in the lineup today, I could play."