Bryce Harper Sits With Hip Issue: Nationals' Lineup For Finale With Phillies

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Davey Johnson made the decision to give Bryce Harper a night off tonight as Harper continues to deal with a bothersome hip issue. Corey Brown gets a start in left field tonight after homering in his first MLB AB of 2013last night in CBP. The Nationals and the Phillies play the finale at 7:05 pm EDT...

Davey Johnson elaborated this morning on his recent comments about how no one had informed him about Bryce Harper's hip issues in Johnson's weekly appearance on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s The Sports Junkies. "Every time anybody asks him and I ask him all the time," Johnson explained, "'How's your leg? How you doin? Blah, blah, blah?' He's always, 'Fine.' But then when I find out he's getting treatment, if I had known that sometimes I would have probably just rested him, against the left-hander [Cole] Hamels. But by and large I want him in the lineup if he's on one leg. He needs the experience and we want him in there." As for how he discovered that Harper was having an issue with his hip?

"By and large I want him in the lineup if he's on one leg. He needs the experience and we want him in there." - Davey Johnson on Bryce Harper/hip issue

"I saw him getting, one of my trainers was using his elbow on his hip," Johnson said, "But we have a lot of guys that really crunch the guys and give them massages. We have two or three experts along [those lines]. So I thought he was just a little tired, just getting a good, hard, rubdown. And then I find out he was actually trying to get the pain out of his hip area."

"I'm just kind of hacked at everybody for not letting the 'Skipper' know," the Nationals' 70-year-old skipper continued. "Because I wanted to play Hairston the other night and he's hit five home runs and was hitting [.412] off Hamels, and so I was going to take one of the left-handers out and if I had known Harper was hurt I could have taken him out. [Denard] Span is playing good. He's got a 15-game, 16-game hitting streak."

After last night's game in Philadelphia, in which Harper was 0 for 5 with a walk and two runs scored (he reached on a K/WP and scored), Johnson joked about Harper running in thinking there were three outs when there were only two in the Phillies' eighth, but added, "I'm just glad he's still on his feet at the end of the game, and it didn't look like he had as much problem with the hip tonight which is good news."

According to reports from Citizens Bank Park, however, when Harper arrived at the park today, the hip was bothering, so Johnson told reporters he decided to give his outfielder the night off:

Johnson announced this afternoon that he would finally give Tanner Roark an opportunity to start his first major league game on Saturday. The Nationals' manager also said Stephen Strasburg is dealing with a hamstring issue. Strasburg will get an extra day of rest instead of going Saturday and go Sunday instead and Ross Ohlendorf, who's struggled after a few innings in his recent starts will move back to the bullpen.

• Here's the lineup - Harper for the series finale in Philadelphia:

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