• Update 1:45 PM EDT via MLB.com's Bill Ladson:
#Nats OF Bryce Harper will be out of action for two more days. Harper had test done on the hip and the doctors found inflammation. That’s it— William Ladson (@washingnats) September 9, 2013
• Previous Report:
With his young star headed back to the nation's capital to get examined by the team's doctor, Davey Johnson was asked Saturday night if there was a chance that Bryce Harper would be shut down for what remains of an injury-filled campaign in which the 2010 no.1 overall pick ran into a few right field walls and played through the pain of knee and hip injuries?
"I don't know," Johnson told reporters, "but it's something we need to aggressively attack. 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." The previous night, the 20-year-old outfielder had talked his way into the Nats' lineup after sitting out last Wednesday's series finale with the Philadelphia Phillies.
"I felt like that Bryce probably needed another day," Johnson said before Friday's game in explaining the decision to let Harper play, "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."
"He still can run good," the 70-year-old manager continued, "I think occasionally he aggravates it when he swings it at home plate. 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."
The next day, Harper went down in a heap during one of several pregame BP sessions he takes.
"He was on the ground out in the cage after he swung on a pitch," Johnson said, "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."
"He aggravated [the hip] hitting, swinging," the Nats' skipper explained, "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 was a little upset that he keeps swinging," Johnson admitted, "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."
On "The Manager's Report" with Dave Jageler before Sunday's series finale with the Marlins, Johnson said that the fact the situation suddenly seemed more serious was a surprise. "That was really a shocker yesterday. In BP he hit a ball I thought was going to go out of the stadium, I mean, it was way back in the upper deck and he really swung the bat good, very crisp. And then I was on the bench. We'd already made the lineups out and about ten minutes before he was back here in the cage hitting more, which is amazing, and evidently he took a swing and fell right to the ground. And I was told when I came up here and we had to redo the lineup."
"Hopefully it's not a serious injury," Johnson said, "Hopefully it's just a little inflammation in there." That's what Johnson said the initial thinking was before Harper sees Dr. Douoguih. "I think the team doctor here called it bursitis or something, which is inflammation in there. So, we'll just have to wait in see. You know, in the old days, you'd just go get a cortisone shot and you'd go get'em."
Before the game on Sunday, Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore quoted a source who said the same about the cause of Harper's hip issue:
"One Nationals official familiar with the situation speculated this morning that Harper has bursitis in his hip, the same affliction that formed in his left knee and forced him to miss 31 games in late May and June.
"The treatment in that case would probably entail a cortisone shot, and Harper would not need to miss the remainder of the season."
After Sunday's 6-4 win in Miami, Johnson reiterated that he was still hoping Harper would join the team during their four-game set with the Mets in Citi Field. "Hopefully, miracle cure and he's in New York," the Nationals' manager said. "Hopefully they'll fix him up and he'll come join us."
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