Wire Taps: Nationals lose Bryce Harper to thumb surgery, Taylor Jordan to Triple-A

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals' slugger Bryce Harper could miss up to two months after suffering a torn ligament in his left thumb during last Friday night's game with the Padres. The latest in a string of injuries for the Nats generated a lot more buzz than the others...

Get your narrative straight. Matt Williams forced Bryce Harper to hustle, so he did and he got hurt because Williams told him to run out his groundouts... or something like that. The baseball world is abuzz after the news yesterday that Harper learned he suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb sliding into third on his base-clearing triple in the third inning of last Friday night's game with the San Diego Padres.

While initial reports said the X-rays were negative, Harper saw a hand specialist on Saturday, then after an MRI, traveled to Cleveland for yet another second/third opinion, which found that he suffered the torn ligament which could keep him out for up to two months.

"He's trying to make it third base. You can't take away from guys going, trying to make it." - Matt Williams on Bryce Harper injuring his thumb sliding into third

ESPN.com's Keith Law was the first to report that Harper would need surgery on his thumb and in a subsequent story on "The mishandling of Bryce Harper," he's calling the Nats' handling of their 21-year-old slugger into question.

Law, of course, is not the first writer to wonder about Nats' skipper Matt Williams' decision to call Harper out publicly for his "lack of hustle" in not running out a grounder back to the mound during the series with the St. Louis Cardinals. In his article yesterday, he wrote that Williams' handling of the situation is evidence that the first-year skipper's, "... inexperience has shown all over the place, as Williams has demonstrated that he's in way over his head so far," especially, in the ESPN writer's opinion, in his handling of Harper.

It's a fairly incendiary piece, and Law has responded to Nationals fans on Twitter since it went up, standing by his sources, while, as is often necessary in reporting, not revealing them. We're not including this story, which is behind ESPN's INSIDER paywall, as a call to attack the writer. As mentioned above, he's hardly the first one to make the sort of comments included in the article.

Tying Harper's benching to his sliding hard into third like he did on the play he was injured, might be a stretch...

Decide for yourself. The article is included below along with all the other links that are fit to print. Tonight's game in Houston doesn't start until 8:05 pm EDT, until then, links and lots of them... starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "Williams' tirade on 'lack of hustle,' directed at a player who is hustle incarnate, was a low point for the Nationals this season..." - "The mishandling of Bryce Harper" - Keith Law, ESPN

• NATS BEAT:

• "Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper will undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and could miss more than two months..." - "Bryce Harper to undergo surgery, could miss two months" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Despite the ugly numbers so far this season, McLouth insists this stretch is nowhere near as difficult as previous ones." - "Nate McLouth hopes to get on track while Bryce Harper is on the DL" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "The second opinion that Bryce Harper received on his injured left thumb provided more bad news to an already injury-depleted Nationals team." - "Nationals Pastime: Bryce Harper to undergo thumb surgery, miss around two months" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "It looks like the injury to Bryce Harper's left thumb is much more serious than anyone thought." - "Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper to undergo surgery to repair torn ligament in left thumb" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "After injuries depleted the Nationals in 2012 and derailed them in 2013, Rizzo entered the winter intent on beefing up his team’s depth." - "With Bryce Harper out for two months, the Nationals turn to their depth again" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "Harper was examined by a specialist at The Cleveland Clinic earlier Monday, receiving a second opinion after having his thumb examined by another specialist Saturday at Nationals Park." - "Source: Bryce Harper needs surgery to repair torn thumb ligament" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "With the news that Bryce Harper is on the disabled list with a left thumb injury. McLouth knows he will get more playing time." - "McLouth's value rises as Harper goes down to injury" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "I would say it's not how you start, it's how you finish. I've always felt that way. It's always been my mantra." - "Jayson Werth: 'It's not how you start, it's how you finish'" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Detwiler is, at worst, the Nationals’ sixth-best pitcher, and they have turned him from a solid starter into their least impactful pitcher." - "Nationals must figure out Ross Detwiler’s role" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Thus, the club will need someone else to start one game either this weekend in Philadelphia or next week vs. the Dodgers, with left-hander Ross Detwiler a possibility as well as Class AAA starter Blake Treinen." - "Ryan Mattheus joining Nationals’ bullpen, Taylor Jordan sent to AAA" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "'Next man up,' is what coaches, general managers and players will often utter when a valuable contributor heads to the trainer's room." - "Nationals Pastime: As injuries mount, Nats rely on 'next man up' mentality" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Reliever Ryan Mattheus was on his way to Houston on Monday evening to join the Nationals for their series against the Astros starting Tuesday..." - "Ryan Mattheus headed to join the Nationals" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "The Nationals have optioned right-hander Taylor Jordan to Triple-A Syracuse and recalled reliever Ryan Mattheus, according to two sources." - "Sources: Nationals send Taylor Jordan to Triple-A, recall Ryan Mattheus" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "In case you have not heard, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper will miss at least the next two months due to thumb surgery..." - "Roto Roundup: Sonny Gray, Troy Tulowitzki, Oscar Taveras and others" - Ray Guilfoyle, Fake Teams

• "Let’s go back to 2012, when the Washington Nationals made one of the most controversial decisions in recent memory by shutting down pitcher Stephen Strasburg late in the season..." - "Baseball Therapy: Do Innings Limits Work?" - Russell A. Carleton, Baseball Prospectus

• "Initially diagnosed with a sprain, Harper told reporters that he hoped to miss no more than the minimum 15 games when he was placed on the disabled list." - "Report: Bryce Harper needs thumb surgery, will miss two months" - Ted Berg, For The Win

• "The Washington Nationals will be without star outfielder Bryce Harper until 'at least July,' according to a report from ESPN's Keith Law..." - "Bryce Harper needs thumb surgery, out until at least July" - Mike Oz, Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports

• "Other than leading the major leagues in errors and devastating thumb injuries, they have yet to distinguish themselves in a way they might have hoped." - "NL East race opens with Bryce Harper hurt" - Jerry Crasnick, SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

• "Anyway, the Nationals figure to use Nate McLouth on an everyday basis while Harper is on the DL." - "Nationals have options to replace Harper; OF sidelined until July" - Mike Axisa, CBSSports.com

• "I hope some of you were able to grab Nate McLouth off of your league waiver wire today, as he is the most likely beneficiary from this terrible news." - "Bryce Harper to have thumb surgery: Fantasy impact" - Ray Guilfoyle, Fake Teams

• "The extended loss of Harper is a significant blow to a Nationals roster already riddled with injuries to key players..." - "Bryce Harper of Washington Nationals out with torn thumb ligament" - Keith Law, ESPN

• "Major League Baseball All-Star Bryce Harper will undergo surgery on his left thumb to treat a torn ulnar collateral ligament on Tuesday." - "Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper Undergoes Thumb Surgery" - David Stout, TIME.com

• "Nationals infielder and Rice product Anthony Rendon has never played the Astros before, but he has done well in 12 career interleague games, with a .340 average." - "Scouting report: Astros host Washington Nationals in two-game set" - Evan Dreilich, Ultimate Astros

• "Heading into spring training, there was a great deal of speculation as to whether the Washington Nationals Adam LaRoche would keep his position at first base." - "Adam LaRoche is on First for Washington" - Robert Pannier, GuardianLV

• "Struck by injuries, including a torn thumb ligament that will keep Bryce Harper out until July, the Nationals haven't had the type of season that many foresaw in spring training." - "Life without Bryce Harper: Can the Nationals cope without their star outfielder?" - Alex Skillin, SBNation.com

• NATS MINORS:

• "Tuesday’s News & Notes" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

High-A Potomac: "The Potomac Nationals (14-8, 7-4) and Lynchburg Hillcats (9-14, 5-7) were suspended in the top of the 2nd inning while in a scoreless tie..." - "Nationals and Hillcats Suspended in Game Three in Scoreless Tie" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: Senators 9, Rock Cats 0 - Matt Skole- 3 for 5, Double - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Double-A Harrisburg: "Rob Gilliam, newest addition Brian Dupra and Tyler Herron shared the two-hit shutout for the Senators (6-16), who've won two in a row for just the second time this season." - "Two-out rallies, two-hit shutout propel Harrisburg Senators to rainy victory" - Geoff Morrow, PennLive.com

Triple-A Syracuse: "First baseman Brock Peterson's RBI single gave Syracuse a lead in the 10th, and a game-ending double play started by shortstop Emmanuel Burriss sealed the victory." - "Peterson, Chiefs best Indians in extras" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• NATSTOWN:

• "Harper injured his thumb Friday night sliding head-first into third base on a three-run triple against the San Diego Padres." - "Harper torn ligament in thumb; surgery; out for two months" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "Nats Talk On The Go: Episode 81" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "MASN trolls Nats fans" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog

• "A list of injuries the Nats have suffered in this still-young season..." - "Okay, The Nats Can Stop Getting Hurt Now" - Jamie Mottram, Mr. Irrelevant, a D.C. Sports Blog by the Brothers Mottram

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Phillies: "Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote a small blurb about the Phillies’ bullpen in his column posted on Monday..." - "Rosenthal: Phillies’ bullpen 'alarmingly thin'" - Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley

Mets/Phillies: "This is one of the reasons manager Ryne Sandberg yanked Cole Hamels against his will Thursday night, right?" - "How long will Cole Hamels last against the Mets? (And other things you need to know)" - Matt Lombardo, NJ.com

Marlins: "The Miami Marlins have two young fireballing right-handers who are off to fantastic starts in 2014." - "The difference between Jose Fernandez and Nathan Eovaldi in the strike zone" - Michael Jong, Fish Stripes

• "Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (3-1, 1.99) vs. Braves LHP Alex Wood (2-3, 1.54)." - "Braves at Marlins series preview" - Tom D'Angelo, www.palmbeachpost.com

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