Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Harper appears to dodge serious injury

Updated at 10:35 p.m.

ATLANTA — Already beset with injuries to other key members of their lineup, the Nationals got a scare tonight when their most important player had to depart with what initially looked like a serious injury.

Bryce Harper, though, is fairly confident he didn't strain any muscles on an awkward, sixth-inning swing, and is dealing only with a bruise to his left side suffered Tuesday night when he crashed into the outfield fence.

"If I can play tomorrow, I'm gonna play," Harper said. "If they put me in the lineup, I'm gonna play. I can play with pain and I can tolerate pain, so hopefully there's nothing that can keep me out of that lineup tomorrow."

Davey Johnson also downplayed the significance of the injury, though the veteran manager didn't sound inclined to take a chance and let his 20-year-old slugger play in Thursday's series finale at Turner Field.

"We'll take it day-by-day and we'll check him tomorrow," Johnson said. "But he'll probably be out of there."

Harper originally hurt himself Tuesday slamming into the right-field wall on Tim Hudson's homer, a collision that left a long, nasty-looking gash down his left side. Though he was able to continue playing with the bad bruise, his check swing in the top of the sixth tonight was particularly painful.

"I think having all the force going towards the ball and then just stopping, immediately it just got me a little bit," he said. "Got me to the point where I couldn't breathe real quick and had to catch my breath. It didn't feel very good."

Harper did remain at the plate and grounded the next pitch from Paul Maholm to first base. He ran only halfway down the line, then gingerly returned to the dugout, where he met with Johnson and trainers. He didn't take the field for the bottom of the sixth, with Roger Bernadina taking his place in right field.

After an hour of rest and treatment, Harper said he felt somewhat better.

"It's just a little tight," he said. "I think that's the biggest thing. Went in there, iced it, did some treatment a little bit. Of course, once you ice it, it tightens up a little bit. So like I said, hopefully I can come in tomorrow and feel like a million bucks and play."

The Nationals already went into this game without regular right fielder Jayson Werth (battling ankle and hamstring injuries) and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (eligible to come off the disabled list Friday after straining his hamstring).

X-rays on Werth's ankle were negative, and he hopes to play in Thursday's series finale. Zimmerman went 0-for-3 in a rehab game at Class A Potomac. He's scheduled to work out Thursday morning, then fly to Pittsburgh to meet the Nationals in time for Friday's series opener at PNC Park.


Steady Eddie said...

Hold breath, everyone.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

hope it is from hitting wall not torque from holding up a swing.

Less Platu said...

Good Game, Nats!

Less Platu said...

Good Game, Nats!

Ivan Tuski said...


sjm308 said...

Will re-post here since this is a newer article. Just got back from reading ESPN's baseball page. There was an interesting article on teams who were in first place as of May 1st. Last year only one team that was in first on 5/1 went on to win its division. Yes, it was our Washington Nationals but the point is, it really is a long season. Just ask the Cleveland Indians. Since 2009 only 8 teams out of 24 in first on 5/1 held on to win their division so lots can happen. I think Ghost and Natsjack have said this often.

A DC Wonk said...

Steady Eddie said...

Hold breath, everyone.

I think you mean -- we can exhale, now!

Steady Eddie said...

Wonk -- yeah, now -- hopefully fortunately -- but not when I wrote that...

SonnyG10 said...

Can't afford to lose Harper. I sure hope he's ok. As hard as Bryce plays, I guess its bound to happen sooner or later, but please not anytime soon.

Section 222 said...

More historical perspective from DC Baseball History, including game information for all the games the Nats have played on May 1. Here are the Nats' W-L records after play on May 1 since they came to DC in 2005:

2005: 13-12
2006: 8-18
2007: 9-18
2008: 12-17
2009: 5-17
2010: 13-11
2011: 13-14
2012: 14-9

This year, we're 14-14.

Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that when the Nats headed to Pittsburgh for the series starting May 3 the Pirates would have a better record? Don't look now, but the Bucs are 16-12.

peric said...

Either way 40 games will be plenty enough to use as a gauge to determine what kind of team the Nats are this year.

It seems fairly clear it won't be good offensively. Pitching and defense at times look iffy but it sure looks as if they will come around to be some of the best league wide.

But there doesn't seem to be much hope of the offense coming around with this starting lineup. It is what it is. If Harper rests tomorrow it may well be pathetic.

Eric said...

What was different about our offense at this point last season? Had they already woken up from the slow start?

Section 222 said...

Eric, just going from memory, I'd say that the offense was better last year, but it wasn't like everything was clicking on all cylinders. ALR was hot (people often said he carried us for the first month). Desi was also hitting well. But Zim was ice cold, Morse was injured, Werth was only so-so, and then he got injured in early May. Danny was Danny, but maybe not as bad as he's been this year. Harper didn't arrive until the end of the month. JZnn is showing the way.

The real difference as JD has noted was pitching. Our starters were all JZnn like, particuarly Stras and Gio. That's the reason that I think that improved starting pitching is the key to catching the Braves, not waking up the bats.

Gonat said...

MLB Network has videotape of Bryce's BP session pre-game and he was stiff and visibly upset with his swings in the cage. He wasn't 100% going into the game. You'd never know it.

CzarKing said...

Section 222, pitching AND defense were better last May. I think our pitching is still actually very good as a unit, just some unlucky fielding behind them.

Daylos said...

Strasburg, Gonzalez, Haren, Clippard, and Storen are scuffling/struggling. That doesn't look like a very good unit to me considering that's 60% of the starters and 50% of the bullpen they are counting on to close out games.

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