Friday, May 31, 2013

Harper to miss weekend, DL possible

USA Today Sports Images
Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth could be swapped for each other on the DL.
ATLANTA — It was 29 days ago that Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth last were together in the Nationals starting lineup, right here at Turner Field for the final game of Washington's previous series against the Braves. As much as each outfielder hoped to rejoin the club and participate in this weekend's critical series against their division rivals, the possibility now appears nonexistent.

Harper, whose continues to be hobbled by a swollen left knee despite taking the last four days off, is likely to miss this entire series and could wind up being placed on the disabled list. Werth, meanwhile, remains on rehab assignment at Class A Potomac, and Tuesday is the earliest he could return, according to manager Davey Johnson.

The Harper news is most disconcerting, with the club finally acknowledging the 20-year-old star may need to take a prolonged break to let his knee heal some 18 days after he initially injured it crashing into the wall at Dodger Stadium.

"He's a tough guy, and he would play if at all possible," Johnson said. "But he's too good a talent to take a chance on further injury. So he's not going out there til it's better, that's for dang sure."

Though he missed the Nationals' entire four-game series with the Orioles, Harper did take batting practice and did some running before Thursday's game at Camden Yards. By the time the team's charter flight landed in Atlanta early Friday morning, he was noticeably hobbling, according to Johnson.

"He walked in front of our bus getting off the airplane last night limping, so I knew right then and there that he was out today," Johnson said. "It's bothering him. We've got to try to figure out — maybe more rest — what we need to do to get him by that."

It doesn't appear the Nationals will put Harper on the DL this weekend, wanting to at least give him a couple of days to perhaps heal to the point he can return, even though they'd have to play with a 24-man roster.

But with Werth possibly on track to return from his hamstring strain Tuesday for the start of the Nationals' homestand against the Mets and Twins, the Nationals will need to clear a roster spot. Harper could land on the DL at that point, the move backdated to the last day he played (May 26).

Werth is scheduled to play seven innings tonight for Potomac after playing three innings on Wednesday and six innings on Thursday. He's not running out of the batter's box at 100 percent yet, though, and until he does, he won't be activated.

Thus, a potential Werth sighting in Atlanta this weekend remains remote at best.

"No, I don't think so," Johnson said. "Usually when you rehab somebody and they finish their last day, you like to give them a day to regroup, because you always put more effort when you're up here. So Tuesday would probably be the first day that you see him."

The Nationals are 2-10 this season when Harper isn't in the starting lineup, and they've obviously missed Werth's presence in the lineup, in the field and in the clubhouse.

"Having both of them out, it's a big blow," Johnson said. "But again, I look at it as an opportunity for other guys to express their talent, and they need to start doing it. We're not just based on one or two guys. We showed that last year."


Rabbit34 said...

Another thing that is dang sure, the credibility of the information we receive about injured players is extremely suspect. Particularly if it come from Johnson.

phil dunton said... nailed it.

Michael Dempsey said...

Braves announcer Joe Simpson just said Bryce Harper's injury after running into wall was "hysterical" The douche hit 9 HR's in his entire career. Now THAT'S hysterical.

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

How long does this injury last normally?

Never heard of it before?

TexNat said...

Time to pull the trigger on acquiring a quality bat to serve as a fourth outfielder. Honestly, the position would be more like a 3.5 outfielder given the likelihood of injuries and the need to give Werth time off now and then going forward.

I'm guessing the Nats could get someone like Willingham for less than an elite prospect. Twins would probably like to be rid of his salary this year and next, which is around $7 million per year. Nats can afford that. Its time to acquire some real depth. Championship caliber teams have starer quality players on the bench ready to step up when called on. If the Nats claim to be of that caliber, time to act like it.

Anonymous said...

First Harper, now apparently Strasburg. This season is crashing and burning before our eyes.

Joe Seamhead said...

Tex, I never want to see Josh Willingham in our OF again.

TexNat said...


I hear ya. But do you want to see Moore out there? How about Bernie and Moore at the plate? This can't go on anymore if the Nats intend to contend. And its painfully obvious that Moore needs to be sent down to work out his problems.

The fact is that Willingham is a 3 plus WAR guy in each of the last two seasons. So his offense outweighs his defense.

In any event, he is just one idea. The point is that the Nats need to look outside the organization to find some quality depth.

Another random idea: trade for Asdrubal Carerra and move him to 2B.

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