Washington Nationals Sunday Updates: Bryce Harper Headed For Second Opinion On Knee; Jeff Kobernus Starts In Center vs Twins

USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals' center fielder Denard Span is getting a game off to rest his foot after fouling a pitch off it in Saturday's loss. Jeff Kobernus is in CF for the first game today. Bryce Harper is headed to Florida to get a second opinion on his bothersome left knee. Updates before today's game...

Denard Span fouled a ball off his foot in Saturday afternoon's game, and was seen limping on the basepaths later in the loss to his former team, the Minnesota Twins. When the Washington Nationals' lineup was announced this morning, Span was not in center for the first game of two to be played today in Nationals Park:

Jeff Kobernus is leading off and playing center field. It will be the 24-year-old, '09 2nd Round pick's first start since being called up to the major leagues. He has played late in games in both left and right so far since coming up. At Triple-A Syracuse, the IF/OF played 28 games total in the outfield before joining the big league club, nine of those games were in center with the other 19 in left. Nats' skipper Davey Johnson told reporters before today's game that he was giving Span the afternoon off in the matinee, but as reporters on the scene noted, the 70-year-old skipper said he would need Span for the nightcap:

Bryce Harper Update: Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo talked to reporters this morning about another Nats' outfielder. Bryce Harper (bursitis in left knee) is headed to see Dr. James Andrews tomorrow to get a second opinion on the injured left knee which has bothered him since a collision with the wall in Turner Field in late April.

Harper, of course, exacerbated the injury when he ran full-steam into the fenced scoreboard/right field wall in Dodger Stadium and then made it worse still on a sliding play in the outfield and headfirst slides on the basepaths in Nats Park.

As the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore wrote this morning, the Nats' general manager told reporters that the Nationals, "... have no concern Andrews’s evaluation will reveal structural damage in Harper’s knee and called the visit part of the Nationals’ protocol for players on the disabled list.":

"'There’s no worry about it,' Rizzo said. 'It is our protocol that players get a second opinion on any part of the body that we feel is a disabled list type of injury. Guys get second opinions all the time here. Every person that we put on the disabled list has gotten a second opinion.'"

Harper has been out of the lineup since May 26th. Though the 20-year-old, 2010 no.1 overall pick has a .287/.386/.587 line on the year in his second major league season, after that first run-in with Turner Field's right field wall, the Nats' three-hole hitter had a .193/.319/.368 line before he was sidelined and eventually placed on the DL. No word on when Harper will return to the lineup. The Washington Post report says Harper will join the Nationals in Colorado on their upcoming road trip, but the article says he is not expected to be back in the lineup on Tuesday, when he's first eligible to come off the DL.

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