Sunday, June 2, 2013

Harper: I should've gone on DL a month ago

Associated Press
Bryce Harper is eligible to return from the DL on June 11.
ATLANTA — Though he only was placed on the disabled list yesterday with a knee injury suffered when he crashed into the fence in Los Angeles on May 13, Bryce Harper admitted this morning he probably should have gone on the DL two weeks earlier after a less-serious collision with the fence in Atlanta.

"I think after I hit the wall here, I think I should have went on the DL, just try to get better and came back 15 days later," Harper said, referring to his April 29 encounter with the right-field fence at Turner Field. "With a lot of guys out, I wanted to stay in the lineup the way I was swinging it. Of course, I want to play every day. It's something that, maybe I'll learn more in my career to take off 15 days instead of lose the month or whatever it is."

Harper didn't miss any time following that initial play here in Atlanta, in which he bruised his left side trying to catch Tim Hudson's homer off the tip of his glove. But his performance immediately suffered.

In 25 games before the Turner Field play, Harper was hitting .356 with a 1.181 OPS and one home run per 10 at-bats. In 19 games since, he's hitting .183 with a .665 OPS and one homer per 20 at-bats.

Harper, though, felt he could play through the initial pain and didn't take a seat until after he rammed into the right-field wall at Dodger Stadium, a far more severe collision that drew national attention.

The worst injury to come out of that play was a swollen left knee, which was aggravated one week ago when Harper twice slid into bases against the Phillies, and finally landed him on the DL this weekend. But he also admitted today he's still hurting in several other parts of his body, which will now get a chance to heal while he sits for at least nine more days. He's eligible to return June 11 against the Rockies.

"It lets everything heal: my hand, my wrist, my side, everything," he said. "So that's good. Hopefully I'll come back and I'll be full-strength and I'll get going, hopefully against Colorado."

Six days of rest so far haven't done much to alleviate the knee injury, diagnosed by the Nationals as bursitis.

"I feel the same as I did the other day," he said. "It's still swollen and crappy. Just trying to get treatment and see if the swelling will go down."

Harper is restricted from doing any physical activity until at least mid-week, possibly later, at which point he hopes to resume some baseball activities.

Sitting and watching from the dugout hasn't been an enjoyable experience for the 20-year-old, who has watched his teammates go 3-10 when he's not in the starting lineup this season. Harper, though, understands it's better to take care of this now than let it linger and perhaps hinder him much later in the year.

"If we're in September, October, I'm going to play," he said. "I wouldn't be sitting out right now. It's just one of those things where you've got to be smart about what you do. Just try to come in every day and get better and do things the right way."


Dave said...

Ya think?

Lesson learned, maybe? Hopefully before long-term damage is done?

sjm308 said...

You do have to love his honesty and his passion and if he has learned something it will definitely help our club in the long run.

Another_Sam said...

Forgive my cynicism. Easy to say now that "I should have been immediately on the DL . . " when if he had, he'd be blasting the front office and everyone else. Of course, he is but 20 years old.

Anonymous said...

Agreed that it's a good thing he has learned his lesson, and is open and honest about it. Question now is whether he will need to undergo surgery immediately, or can wait til after the season as he was hoping to do. David posted before about what surgery entails (removal of the bursa sac and having a new one grow back) but didn't say what the recovery period would be. I would guess at least a month and maybe until after the All Star break.

This may be why they are getting Rendon ready to play 2B in the majors in a hurry. If you had a healthy Harper (and Werth) in the lineup you could live with Espinosa's offensive struggles for the value his glove brings. But if Harper is going to be out for a long time, you need Rendon's bat in the lineup pronto.

Anonymous said...

Lesson learned? Who is running this out-of-control team, the adults or the 20-year-olds? Nevermind, the results on the field so far seem to be answering that question.

That is NOT a knock a Harper, BTW.

DJB said...

I am awed by Harper's ability, but mismanagement by Rizzo and Davey is destroying what could be a historic career. If for this reason alone, Rizzo should be fired and we should start with a new Front Office before the organization needs to trade away a rapidly diminishing asset.

Doc said...

I hold Davey and Rizzo somewhat responsible for Harper's past reckless play.

Anyway, a lesson learned is the best way of stating it. We all want this kid to have a great career, not a Pete Reiser career!

DJB said...

Also, as I've said before, Pete Rose got away with his style of play because he was making up for a lack of athletic ability. I grew up near Cincinnati during the "Big Red Machine" days and watched almost every game. Harper's athleticism, combined with his style of play, is simply a recipe for disaster. I started the year amazed by his hitting, but am rapidly leaning to the position that he will not be viable long-term. Trout and Machado are clearly better long term investments at this point. He needs to mature fast. With proper maturity, his power potential makes him a better prospect than either Trout or Machado. But that is a big "if."

phil dunton said...

Unless Harper changes the wreckless way plays the game, he will ruin a promising career.

EmDash said...

There is literally no chance anyone is trading Harper unless he gets to the last year of his deal and the FO gets the impression they won't be able to sign him to a longer-term one. Nor should they.

DJB said...

EmDash, you can't say that. What if he can't stay healthy over the next two years? With his upside potential, he would be very valuable in a trade for a couple of top flight position players and a good young arm.

EmDash said...

That's a pretty big longterm hypothetical. Any number of things *could* happen over the next few years, so to presuppose that he can't stay healthy because he did (once) recklessly hit a wall and then as an inexperienced outfielder misread a ball? That's a pretty freak set of circumstances. And from his comments he seems to have learned from it.

The bottom line is it's just too early to speculate there. If he gets hurt like this next year, and the year after? Maybe. But that's not where we are.

Positively Half St. said...

Can we release Zach Duke yet?

Laddie Blah Blah said...

Werth just hit his 2nd HR of the game in Potomac. He can't come back soon enough.

natsfan1a said...

Agreed. Come home, Jayson. We need you.

Rabbit34 said...

Yes, maybe you should have gone on the DL a month ago Bryce. So, it looks like you fit right in with the team. Because of all the wuda, shuda, cuda, on this team, it's a blown season anyway.

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