Washington Nationals' Saturday Lineup vs Padres: So About Bryce Harper Sitting... + Ross Detwiler Has Back Issues; Could Miss Next Start

Rob Carr

Davey Johnson talked after last night's game about giving his 20-year-old outfielder Bryce Harper a rest after he'd struggled since returning from over a month on the DL. Apparently, Harper had a talk (or text exchange) with his skipper last night and convinced Johnson he needs to play.

Davey Johnson planned on giving Bryce Harper a few days off to rest. Since returing from over a month on the DL with a home run in his first at bat last Monday, the 20-year-old outfielder was struggling, going 0 for 18 at the plate and committing two errors in the outfield that led the Washington Nationals' manager to make the decision he announced last night. "I'll probably give Harper a couple days off," Johnson told reporters after the Nats' 8-5 win over the San Diego Padres. "I think he's just fighting himself."

Bursitis in his left knee sidelined Harper and eventually required a cortisone shot and PRP injection before the swelling started to go down, allowing him to begin working his way back. After four rehab games, the second-year major leaguer returned to the Nationals' lineup, but his manager though he was pressing. "Coming back from the long [layoff] and I think he hasn't had much [of a] break when he came back, I just need to back off him a little bit," Johnson said.

"He expects a lot of himself," Johnson explained, "And I think, coming back from that long layoff, he's just not as relaxed as you'd like to see him. He's probably not 100% physically either."

Apparently, however, Harper got in touch with his manager last night and convinced Johnson the best thing for him is to get more at bats and get comfortable as the Washington Post's James Wagner reported this afternoon:

The Nationals confirmed as much when they released the lineup for this afternoon's 4:05 pm EDT game with the Padres:

Apparently, as Washington Times' writer Mike Harris wrote on Twitter quoting Davey Johnson's explanation of the reversal, all it took was some subtle persuasion on Harper's part to talk his way back in:

So Harper is back in. The bad news from this afternoon's pregame press conference, Ross Detwiler's once again experiencing back issues and may miss his next scheduled outing:

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