The Washington Nationals and Davey Johnson are watching Bryce Harper tear the cover off the ball this spring, but it has not come without a price. Johnson voiced his concerns about Harper's swollen thumb after Tuesday's game, when Harper collected two hits in his first two at-bats and a walk in his third.
Harper has reached base in 10 straight appearances, putting together nine consecutive hits followed by a walk. However, according to Amanda Comak of the Washington Times, Harper might be forced to miss time due to his jammed thumb that he aggravated once again on Tuesday.
The Nats skipper spoke on the issue of Harper and his jammed thumb, stating:
“He’s still got a little tender top hand. I might have to give him a couple days off, I don’t know. Usually those are just kind of nagging injuries. If it gets real bad you give him a little cortisone in there and that quiets it down, but i don’t know if it’s that bad."
Johnson revealed that the team would check with doctors on Wednesday to get their opinion. Despite Harper's inflammation, he has been able to play without a guard on his hand during game action. He has, however, worn the thumb guard during batting practice.
Although the issue does not appear to be one that will require any drastic measure, it might require a couple of days off before the season begins.
Davey Johnson is stuck in a confounding situation. Does he risk throwing Harper out of rhythm to try to lessen the inflammation or does he allow the phenom to play through it?
Harper's determination will likely make it harder for Johnson to bench him, but the Nationals would benefit from a rested, healthy Harper, rather than one who is battling an injury from the first day of the regular season.