Washington Nationals superstar Bryce Harper was forced to leave Wednesday night's game against the Atlanta Braves in the sixth inning because of pain in his left side from slamming into the outfield wall the day before.
UPDATE: Thursday, May 2nd, at 7:07 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo
According to Mark Zuckerman of Comcast Sportsnet, Bryce Harper is back in the Nationals' lineup:
"Johnson waited to make his lineup official until both Harper and Werth had a chance to take batting practice late this afternoon, but each player came out of that warmup session reporting no issues — each launched a couple of home runs — so they were inserted into the starting lineup, Harper hitting third and playing left field, Werth hitting cleanup and playing right field."
---End of Update---
UPDATE: Thursday, May 2 at 1:00 p.m. ET by Sam Westmoreland
Bryce Harper talked to the Washington Times' Amanda Comack about how the injury happened, shedding a bit more light on the situation.
Per Comack's report:
While Harper said his collision with the wall on Tuesday night, which gave him a nasty bruise all down the left side of his torso, didn’t help matters, the check swing “just got me a little bit.”
“I think having all the force going towards the ball and then just stopping immediately it just got me,” Harper 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.”
UPDATE: Thursday, May 2, at 12:15 p.m. ET by Sam Westmoreland
According to the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, the Nationals got more good news on Harper today when it was revealed that X-rays on the outfielder's injury came out negative.
Bryce Harper had an X-ray and it came back negative, per Davey in a text. Good news.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) May 2, 2013
This is great news for the Nats, as it's looking like their slugger isn't going to be out for an extended period of time.
UPDATE: Wednesday, May 1, at 9:45 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
According to Washington Times reporter Amanda Comak, Harper bruised his lat:
Davey said Bryce Harper has a bad bruise on his lat from hitting wall. Reevaluated tomorrow.— Amanda Comak (@acomak) May 2, 2013
Harper added some words about his injury (per MASNSports.com reporter Dan Kolko):
Harper says check swing really hurt his side, but "hopefully I'll come in tomorrow and feel like a million bucks & be able to play."— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) May 2, 2013
---End of update---
CSNWashington.com's Mark Zuckerman has the news and the possible cause:
Harper doesn't take field for bot 6th. Might have tweaked something on swing in top 6th. Also hurt side crashing into fence last night.— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) May 2, 2013
ESPN's Buster Olney, meanwhile, speculates a little further:
Bryce Harper looks like he's hurt... Maybe an oblique strain... we'll see.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 2, 2013
This is the last thing the Nationals need right now. Despite being just 20 years old, Harper has been one of the league's deadliest hitters through the first month of the 2013 MLB season. An injury seems like the only thing capable of slowing down the electric outfielder.
He entered Wednesday’s contest hitting .344 (fifth in the NL) with nine home runs (second), 18 RBI and a 7-to-8 walk-to-strikeout ratio. He had an on-base percentage of .430 (fourth), a slugging percentage of .720 (second) and an OPS of 1.150 (first).
Essentially, these are video-game numbers from one of the youngest players in the league.
Harper has had the look of a player intent on making history. Not only should Nationals fans be hoping for the best, but so should baseball fans.
The charismatic Harper is beneficial for the game, and any type of extended injury would be extremely unfortunate to see.
Roger Bernadina—yes, the same Roger Bernadina who entered the game 1-for-18 on the season—took Harper's place in right field. He and Tyler Moore stand to see more at-bats for the Nationals, who have had a tough time avoiding the injury bug this year.
Ryan Zimmerman currently sits on the DL, and ace Stephen Strasburg has been dealing with forearm tightness, although he won’t miss a start because of it.
The Nationals currently sit at 14-15 in second place in the NL East.