Bryce Harper told reporters including CSNWashington.com's Chase Hughes last night that it wasn't the knee which landed him on the DL earlier this season that had him limping around and wincing noticeably on a couple swings and misses in the last few games at home against the New York Mets, but Harper declined to share any specifics on what had him in such obvious discomfort:
After more of the same tonight in Citizens Bank Park, where Harper was 1 for 3 with a walk and a K, Davey Johnson said it was actually a hip issue bothering the Nats' 20-year-old outfielder, and the Nationals' 70-year-old skipper said he was disturbed that no one told him that Harper been receiving treatment.
"You guys had questioned his back hurting," Johnson said, "It's actually his hip. And I was a little disturbed that I wasn't informed that he was having some treatment on his hip. But every time everybody talks to Harper, he says, 'I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm fine.' And so, I'm going to stay with him."
Though it's unclear how long the hip has been an issue, Harper's been enjoying a successful run at the plate recently. In the last month plus before tonight, the 2010 no.1 overall pick was 29 for 103 (.282/.398/.485) with nine doubles and four home runs going back to the beginning of August.
Harper played all three games with the Mets this past weekend and was 7 for 21 in six games on the Nats' recently-completed homestand. He had one of the two hits Cole Hamels allowed in seven innings on the mound tonight in Philadelphia. "He still had a heck of a ballgame," Johnson said, "He got a walk. Base hit. But I'm more concerned about him being available the next day when I have some options. But he's a tough kid. That's the way he is."
Johnson said he thought about lifting Harper when he saw him struggling again tonight, but the young outfielder insisted he was fine. "I thought about it and [Tony] Tarasco asked him and he said he was okay. And [Jayson] Werth asked him. He said he can play." Johnson also said he thinks Harper will be available for the second game of three tomorrow night in CBP. "I think he'll be in there tomorrow."
Harper told reporters if it was an issue he would take himself out:
Davey said he learned Harper has been dealing with hip injury. Harper: "I've got enough left," said he would take himself out if it was bad.— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) September 3, 2013
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