Update 11:11 PM EDT - Bryce Harper A Late Scratch:
Davey Johnson talked with reporters Friday night about the decision to reinstert Bryce Harper in the Washington Nationals' lineup for the series opener with the Marlins in Miami's Marlins Park after Harper sat with his hip "barking" in the finale of the Nats' series with the Philadelphia Phillies earlier this week in Citizens Bank Park.
"I felt like that Bryce probably needed another day," Johnson explained, "and he was not feeling that great coming in, but he came in and after he got a little treatment, he said, 'I want in there. I'm not 100%, but I want in there.' I said, 'Well, you're in there then.' That simple."
The Nats' 70-year-old manager went on to describe Harper's hip issue as a "hip sprain," but Johnson said he wasn't concerned about the 20-year-old slugger playing with the injury since he was told Harper couldn't cause further damage by continuing to do so. "He still can run good. I think occasionally he aggravates it when he swings it at home plate," the Nationals' skipper explained, "You can see him sometimes grimace, he gets out of the box. The trainers inform me it's not something that's going to get worse. So he can play with it. And he's 20 years old. I didn't think a 20-year-old ever got hurt anyway, so, he's in my lineup."
Harper was originally in the lineup again on Saturday night too, but he was a late scratch. There was word on the television broadcast that there wouldn't be any announcement on the reason for the scratch until after the game with the Marlins. Once the Nationals beat the Fish, 9-2, Johnson told reporters that Harper was headed back to the nation's capital to have tests done on his hip:
Bryce Harper flying back to DC for tests on hip, Davey says. Aggravated before game hitting.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) September 8, 2013
"He aggravated [the hip] hitting, swinging," Johnson said, "He comes and hits early and then he hits in BP, and he had a great BP and then he comes back in here and hits more and he aggravated it. And I think he's got some inflammation in that hip and he's going to go see Dr. Wiemi [Douoguih] tomorrow and hopefully they'll figure out what it is and treat it and he'll met us in New York."
"I don't know, but it's something we need to aggressively attack," Johnson explained. "We've been kind of treating it as a slight hip strain, but obviously it's something more serious than that. So, we need to fix it and he needs to finish the year strong."
Asked what Harper told him to let him know the hip was a problem tonight, Johnson said Harper didn't have to say anything.
"He didn't have to tell me anything," the Nats' skipper explained, "he was on the ground out in the cage after he swung on a pitch. And so they came and told me, I guess it was about ten minutes before the game started. So I was in a rush to put a new lineup out there."
"I was a little upset that he keeps swinging," Johnson said, "instead of just resting it and then going out there and playing. But he's still young and exuberant and has his own routine. So hopefully it will get fixed and he'll be fine in New York."
More from Federal Baseball:
- Nationals' Bryce Harper Scratched; Heads Back To D.C. For Tests On Hip
- Game 141 WPA: Where's the power, Zim? Nats 9, Fish 2
- Nationals 9-2 Over Marlins: Tanner Roark Earns Win In First MLB Start
- Rosenthal On Nationals: Howie Kendrick? Adam LaRoche Trade Talk? Matt Williams As Manager?
- Nationals' Saturday Night Lineup vs Marlins: Bryce Harper And Denard Span In Tonight