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?
"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:
Harper finally admitted to Davey today his hip is "barking," so that prompted night off.— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) September 4, 2013
Davey talked to Harper as he was getting treatment on his hip today. Harper admitted the hip was barking. "OK, you're off," Davey said.— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) September 4, 2013
Bryce Harper said he's feeling fine. Davey says he spoke with Harper, and Harper told him his hip was "barking." So, Davey is sitting him.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) September 4, 2013
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:
#Nationals lineup at PHI: Span 8, Zimmerman 5, Werth 9, LaRoche 3, Desmond 6, Ramos 2, Brown 7, Lombardozzi 4, Zimmermann 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) September 4, 2013
More from Federal Baseball:
- The Nats' Anthony Rendon's Rookie Season So Far, Part I
- Nationals' Davey Johnson On Bryce Harper Forgetting How Many Outs There Were; Denard Span + More
- Nationals Win Ugly, 9-6 Over The Phillies, But At Least They Won...
- Game 138 WPA: Like baseball, only sloppier. Nats 9, FF 6
- Nationals 9-6 Over Phillies On A Long Night In Citizens Bank Park