Nationals' OF Bryce Harper Scratched From Tonight's Game After HBPs Friday vs The Braves

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Harper was originally penciled into tonight's starting lineup, but the 20-year-old Washington Nationals' outfielder was scratched with manager Davey Johnson explaining that the second of two pitches Harper was hit with last night in the loss to the Atlanta Braves had bruised Harper's tricep.

Davey Johnson told reporters last night that he hoped the Atlanta Braves' pitchers weren't hitting Bryce Harper on purpose. "I hope not, because it's ridiculous in a close ballgame," Johnson said. "And they've got a lot more to lose than we do at this point, and so it would be a ridiculous thing to be doing." He didn't, however, think the two HBPs were intentional, explaining that the situations weren't right for purpose pitches. "One time he got hit with a breaking ball," the 70-year-old skipper said, "and that's obviously not an attempt to throw at him. And in that situation [the second], they've got their best left-hander out there and for him to hit him in that situation didn't make a whole lot of sense."

The second one, by Braves' lefty Luis Avilan looked like it hurt more than the curve starter Alex Wood hit Harper with early in the game. Harper caught the second in the back of his right arm/shoulder when he turned to avoid the pitch which was thrown behind him. Avilan told reporters afterwards that he had not hit the Nats' outfielder intentionally:

The 20-year-old slugger looked to be in pain, but took his base and stayed in the game. Apparently that second hit by pitch caused enough damage that Harper, who was originally penciled into tonight's lineup, was scratched about two and half hours before the start of tonight's game:

When Jayson Werth was asked about the pitches that hit Harper last night, he declined to comment publicly, telling reporters, "That's one of those things that we take care of in-house and that's just part of the game. I'm not going to speak publicly about it."

It was, of course, the third time Harper's been hit in the last four games with the Nats' NL East rivals. Braves' starter Julio Teheran hit the Nationals' 2010 no.1 overall pick during the series in Washington last week in which Atlanta took three straight games. There was no retaliation from the Nationals in that series.

• Here's the Nationals' updated lineup:

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