Bryce Harper Injury: Updates on Nationals Star's Thumb and Return

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2014

USA Today

Updates from Monday, June 30

MLB Roster Moves confirmed Bryce Harper's return to the Nationals: 

Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington passed along Harper's return to the lineup:

Updates from Friday, June 27

The Nationals' official Twitter feed has the latest on Harper's rehab:

SportsCenter reported on Harper's performance in a Double-A rehab assignment:

Updates from Thursday, June 26

Dan Kolko of MASN Sports provides an update on Bryce Harper's status:

Updates from Wednesday, June 25 passed along video of Bryce Harper's home run against Salem:

Updates from Tuesday, June 24

Daniel Popper of has the latest on Harper:

For the first time since tearing a ligament in his left thumb nearly two months ago, Bryce Harper stepped to the plate Monday night batting second in a rehab start for Class A Advanced Potomac. On the first pitch he saw from Salem Red Sox right-hander Justin Haley in the first inning, the left-handed slugger took a massive cut and whiffed for strike one.

"I went up there hacking on my first pitch to try to just get that out of the way because I was so excited to hit again," said Harper, who started in left field. "Just that competitive nature going out there."

Harper worked himself back into the count in that first at-bat, and on a 2-2 count, he smacked a line drive the opposite way to left field for a single and took a grandiose turn around first base. Harper would get up again in the third inning and fall behind 0-2, but he battled back to work a two-out walk. Harper played three innings and finished the night 1-for-1.

"I just want to see pitches," Harper said. "So if I can work deep in counts and see more pitches, then that's huge for me. If I strike out or walk, then that's fine, too, because I just want to see a lot of pitches."

Updates from Monday, June 23

The Washington Nationals announced the latest step in Bryce Harper's recovery after surgery:

Updates from Saturday, June 21

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has the latest on Harper's recovery:

Updates from Friday, June 20 has the latest on Harper:

Nationals slugger Bryce Harper showed plenty of pop Thursday in his first on-field batting practice since undergoing ligament surgery on his left thumb last month.

"Honestly, we almost ran out of baseballs," manager Matt Williams said. "Between he and Wilson (Ramos), whoever gets in the park first today and goes to the outfield will have lots of souvenirs."

Williams said Harper will begin a minor league rehab assignment after the Nationals begin a road trip next week.

"I'm still trying to see where my swing's at. ... I don't see myself coming back after five games or four games," Harper said. "I really want to push it and see how I feel after eight, nine games down there. If I feel good before that, then I'll see where I'm at."

Updates from Tuesday, June 17

Bryce Harper took his first two-handed swings since surgery on his thumb, and manager Matt Williams discussed his status and recovery (via Chase Hughes of

Today he took some swings in the cage. He’ll continue to do that and I think we’ll get him on the field in the next few days and see where he’s at. He feels good, sat with him today and talked to him about how he’s feeling and how he’s doing. He feels ready to go, to take the next step. ...

... You don’t know how it’s really going to react. We’ll see how he steps things up and when he’s ready to go. Beyond July 1st, it’s probably somewhere we can say that if it all goes well it’s kind of the timeframe. But we’ll have to see how it goes.

Updates from Satruday, June 14

James Wagner of the Washington Post provides an update on Bryce Harper's status:

Updates from Thursday, June 5

Dan Kolko of MASN spoke to Bryce Harper, who commented on a timeline for his return from an injured thumb:

Updates from Wednesday, June 4

CSN's Mark Zuckerman has the latest on Harper:

“We don’t know yet, but I’d like to see him back by the 1st of July,” manager Matt Williams said Wednesday. “I think that would be a good target, but we just don’t know. It depends on how everything else goes.”

Out since he tore a ligament in his left thumb on April 26, Harper has begun some preliminary on-field work the last two days. He’s not yet cleared to catch throws or take swings, but he has been scooping up groundballs hit to the outfield and then throwing them back to a coach.

It’s still unclear when Harper will be cleared for full workouts on the field. Team officials clearly are being cautious with the recovering young slugger.

“It’s not time yet,” Williams said. “He’s itching, he’s pacing. But that’s one of those things where he’s 21 years old. If it doesn’t heal right, it can affect him long-term. So we want to make sure he’s good before he’s able to get back out here.”

Updates from Monday, May 12

Dan Kolko of MASN has the latest information regarding Bryce Harper's thumb injury:

Updates from Wednesday, April 30

Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan had the latest on Bryce Harper:

Updates from Tuesday, April 29

Bryce Harper updated fans on his status following surgery via his Twitter account:

Updates from Monday, April 28

Keith Law of ESPN reported that Bryce Harper will have surgery to repair his left thumb:

Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper will undergo surgery Tuesday to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb and is expected to be out until at least early July, according to multiple sources.

Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post tweeted that Harper was getting a second opinion:


Updates from Sunday, April 27

Bryce Harper has been placed on the disabled list, the Washington Nationals announced:

Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post reports Harper still needs to seek another opinion to determine the extent of his thumb injury after undergoing an MRI and visiting a hand specialist:

Harper will see another doctor for a second opinion, according to a person familiar with the situation, which should determine the full nature of Harper’s injury and how long it will keep him out. “Doesn’t look good,” the person said.

After Harper visited with a hand specialist Saturday at Nationals Park, the doctor ordered an MRI and the Nationals feared Harper may have suffered ligament damage. Television cameras spotted Harper wearing a small cast on his hand during the Nationals’ 4-0 victory over the Padres.

William Ladson of previously provided the Nationals' lineup for Sunday: 

Updates from Saturday, April 26

The Nationals' Twitter feed reports that Harper is out for Saturday's game:

Dan Kolko of MASN has more on the outfielder's injury:

Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post reports that the outfielder will undergo an MRI on his thumb:

Original Text

This wouldn't have happened if Bryce Harper hadn't been taken out of that game by manager Matt Williams.

Less than a week after Williams benched Harper for not hustling out a ground ball, the Washington Nationals star appeared to injure his wrist after diving into third base on a triple. The Washington Post's James Wagner reported that Harper's left wrist hit the bag hard as he was sliding in:

Harper beat the throw, popped up on one leg and grabbed his left wrist. Standing at the base, he grabbed his wrist, grimaced and took off his batting glove. He stayed in the game and completed the inning. ...

... Harper took his spot in left field in the fourth inning but left the game at the top of the following inning. Nate McLouth took left field instead of Harper in the fifth inning.

However, after the game the Nationals reported that Harper injured his thumb:

You can see video of the triple below:

MASN's Dan Kolko notes that Harper doesn't seem worried about the injury:

The timing couldn't be much worse for Harper. Before exiting the game, he was 2-for-2 and had driven in four runs. He looked to be firmly breaking out of his early-season slump.

Although Harper didn't look to be seriously injured, neither did Josh Hamilton when he got hurt sliding into first base. Then the Angels announced that he'd be out for six to eight weeks after tearing a ligament in his thumb.

It's difficult to tell how long the Nats outfielder might be on the shelf, if he's placed on the disabled list at all.

What isn't in doubt is how much Washington will need Harper back healthy. The Atlanta Braves have started the season well and carried a three-game lead over the Nationals into Friday night. The longer Harper's out, the greater the risk of that deficit growing larger and larger.


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