Davey Johnson talked on Friday night about the decision to reinsert Bryce Harper in the Washington Nationals' lineup for the series opener in Miami after Harper sat with his hip "barking" in the finale of the Nats' series with the Philadelphia Phillies. "I felt like that Bryce probably needed another day," Johnson told reporters, "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 skipper went on to describe Harper's hip issue as a "hip sprain," but said he wasn't concerned about the 20-year-old slugger continuing to play. "He still can run good. 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."
As soon as Johnson put Harper back in the lineup, however, another outfielder went down. Denard Span, who'd been dealing with a groin issue since the series in Citizens Bank Park, had it tighten up on him before last night's game. Span sat out of the series opener with Corey Brown getting the start in center instead. After the Nationals' 7-0 loss to the Marlins, Johnson said he wasn't sure when Span would return. "I think he's better," Johnson said. "I haven't had a chance to check on him, but he's going to be iffy for tomorrow."
Barring any last minute changes like there were last night, however, it appears that both Harper and Span will be back in the lineup tonight to back Tanner Roark up in his first major league start as Roark moves from the 'pen to the rotation.
• Here's the Nats' lineup for the second game of three in Miami:
#Nationals lineup at MIA: Span 8, Zimmerman 5, Harper 7, Werth 9, Desmond 6, LaRoche 3, Ramos 2, Rendon 4, Roark 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) September 7, 2013
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- Marlins' Starter Jose Fernandez Dominates Nationals: Fish Win 7-0 In Miami
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