Nationals place Bryce Harper on 15-Day DL with left thumb sprain; Recall Steven Souza, Jr.

Patrick Smith

The Washington Nationals were waiting on the results of an MRI on Bryce Harper's injured left thumb after Saturday's game. Today they placed the 21-year-old outfielder on the 15-Day DL with a left thumb sprain. Steven Souza, Jr. was called up...

After Saturday's game, Washington Nationals' Manager Matt Williams told reporters the Nats were waiting on the results of an MRI on 21-year-old slugger Bryce Harper's injured left thumb. Initial X-rays were negative, but the thumb, injured on a sliding play at third base in Friday night's game, was swollen, so after Harper met with a hand specialist on Saturday, an MRI was scheduled.

Williams said Saturday that the results would come either last night or this morning.

Harper was not likely to play on Sunday, and when the Nationals' lineup was released, the left-handed hitting outfielder's name was not in it. Nate McLouth was penciled in playing left and batting eighth.

Not long after the lineup was announced, the Nationals reported on Twitter that Harper was being placed on the 15-Day DL with a left thumb sprain, retroactive to Saturday:

Harper injured the thumb sliding into third base in the third inning of Friday night's game with the San Diego Padres after hitting a base-clearing triple. He remained in the game for a half inning on defense, but didn't bat and when the Nationals took the field he stayed behind in the dugout.

"He jammed his thumb sliding into third on a triple," Williams told reporters on Friday night. "It's a little swollen. He could have continued to play, I think, tonight, but we thought it best to get on it right away. So we'll reevaluate him tomorrow. See where he's at, but just jammed it sliding into third."

On Saturday afternoon, Williams updated reporters and said that Harper was scheduled for an MRI after he showed up at the park with the thumb still swollen.

"He showed up this morning, a little swollen," Williams said. "Hand specialist saw him during the game. He is currently having an MRI. The X-rays were negative. He's having an MRI this afternoon. We'll have more details tonight or in the morning, but he's a little swollen today."

This morning Harper went on the DL.

The news is another blow to a team that has already lost Doug Fister (lat strain), Wilson Ramos (hamate bone) and Ryan Zimmerman (fractured thumb) to injury this season.

Steven Souza, Jr., who already came up for a short stint in the majors this season before returning to Triple-A, was recalled again this morning to take Harper's spot on the roster. Souza was 1 for 4 while with the Nationals. In 11 games at Triple-A Syracuse early this season, the 25-year-old outfielder is 11 for 33 (.333/463/.545) with a double and two home runs in 41 plate appearances with the Nats' top minor league affiliate.

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