While all the talk in NatsTown in the last 24 hours has been about the status of Nats' catcher Wilson Ramos' hand/wrist and the reports that he'll have hamate bone surgery, the first real scare of the season came in the second inning of Washington's opener with the New York Mets on Monday. Sliding in hard, high and late at second in an attempt to break up a double play, Bryce Harper took a kick to the head that knocked the 21-year-old slugger down.
Initial reports on the tv broadcast said he was leaving the game, but he was back out in left field the bottom of the inning.
"We talked to him that inning," Nationals' manager Matt Williams told reporters after the game. "The very next inning he had a concussion test from the doctor. He was cleared, so he felt okay. He got banged, but he passed all the tests, so."
Coming off a season in which he, by his own admission, played longer than he probably should have with an injured knee, and with all the discussions about the dangers of concussions in recent years, the Nationals did what they needed to in order to make sure Harper was able to continue playing.
"He passed it and he's fine," Williams said of the tests. "That's the way Bryce plays. He plays hard, so those things are going to happen from time to time, but the doctor cleared him up and he should be good."
In today's BIG STORY, NY Times' writer Alan Schwarz, the reporter who labeled Harper a "tape-measure-testing, laser-throwing, eyeblack-oozing baseball cyborg," back in 2010, talks about the Nationals' quick work to clear their young star.
That story and more. Links and lots of them, lunchtime reading, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:
• THE BIG STORY!!!:
• "For all the lore about baseball having no clock, the Washington Nationals sure had to beat one on Monday..." - "Checking for a Concussion With the Clock Running" - Alan Schwarz, NYTimes.com
• NATS BEAT:
• "Nationals catcher and opening day cleanup hitter Wilson Ramos will likely undergo hamate bone surgery on his left hand Wednesday morning..." - "Wilson Ramos likely to undergo surgery, miss 4-8 weeks" - James Wagner, Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post
On his weekly paid appearance on 106.7, Matt Williams confirmed Wilson Ramos will undergo surgery. Williams expects four to five weeks.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) April 2, 2014
• "Just seven innings into the 2014 season, Ramos left yesterday's game against the Mets with an injury to his left hand." - "Nationals Pastime: Ramos' bad injury luck continues, plus what may lie ahead" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• "Regardless of the final diagnosis and course of treatment, it’s pretty clear right now the Nationals are going to once again be without Ramos for a prolonged period." - "Can the Nationals withstand the prolonged loss of Wilson Ramos?" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "According to manager Matt Williams, the injury occurred during the top of the seventh inning on Monday when Ramos was in the batter's box against Mets right-hander Dillon Gee." - "Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos likely to have surgery on left hand" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News
• "Nationals manager Matt Williams crammed a season’s worth of experiences into one wild game..." - "After Day 1 as manager, Matt Williams feeling the churn" - Brian McNally, Washington Times
• "He's gotten just 370 at-bats the last two seasons combined, and got just three on opening day before this latest setback." - "Nationals Pastime: Report: Ramos to have surgery, miss at least a month" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• "During spring training, Nationals closer Rafael Soriano fiddled with a new pitch and he is considering adding it to his repertoire this season." - "Rafael Soriano working on new pitches" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "That Barrett even found himself sitting in the Nationals’ bullpen yesterday was surprising enough." - "Rookie Aaron Barrett flying high after dream debut for Nationals" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "There are a lot of teams who are still inquiring about Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa, according to a baseball source..." - "Nationals confident infielder Danny Espinosa part of future" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News
• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:
My man @IanDesmond20 @Nationals stopped by the @MLB_Players office in Manhattan today. Interested in his career. pic.twitter.com/rlplOzWQxZ— Dave Winfield (@DaveWinfieldHOF) April 1, 2014
• "I'm considering a care package for Bryce Harper." - "Nations: Harper needs to dial it down" - Jeff Nations, NV Daily
• "The MLB Daily Dish staff tries to predict the outcomes of the 2014 season." - "MLB Daily Dish Staff Predictions" - Justin Millar, MLB Daily Dish
• NATS MINORS:
• "Each of the Nationals' four minor minor league affiliates begin their seasons on Thursday." - "Nationals announce 2014 minor league rosters" - Chase Hughes, Comcast SportsNet Washington
• ""During spring training, Mooneyham worked with Nationals pitching coordinator Spin Williams and Potomac Nationals pitching coach Franklin Bravo to focus on a mechanical issue..." - "P-Nats' Mooneyham irons out mechanical issue, is confident to start 2014" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
• Low-A Hagerstown: "The low-level Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals filed an applicationin October to relocate to Fredericksburg, Va., at the start of the 2015 season." - "Hagerstown City Council irons out lease extension offer for Suns" - Holly Shok, Herald Mail Media: Local News
• Double-A Harrisburg:
Position-by-position breakdown for the @HbgSenators, who open the 2014 @EasternLeague season tomorrow http://t.co/U5dXE0MJBk— Geoff Morrow (@RageAgainstGMo) April 2, 2014
• Double-A Harrisburg: "Aaron Barrett’s debut with the Washington Nationals on Monday was different, though, as far as his former bullpen mates were concerned." - "Harrisburg Senators thrilled as ex-teammate Aaron Barrett wins major league debut with Nats" - Dave Sottile, PennLive.com
• Triple-A Syracuse: "Billy Gardner Jr.'s club is scheduled to begin our town's 100th International League season on Thursday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium. And a rookie just might lead it." - "Syracuse Chiefs center fielder Brian Goodwin, an 'interesting' Carolina guy, is ready to ply his trade" - Bud Poliquin, syracuse.com
• "And so the marathon begins. The 162-game grind that die-hard baseball fans know all too well." - "Nationals Buzz: Baseball, rebirth and the natural rhythms of life" - Rachel Levitin, MASNSports.com
• "Bryce Harper makes fun of John Wall’s first pitch on new MTV show" - Scott Allen, DC Sports Bog
• "Baseball season is underway, and with it, more good news about your food and drink options at Nationals Park." - "Atlas Brew Works Teams With Washington Nationals For Exclusive Beer" - DCist
Do you have a question for @TylerClippard? Ask him LIVE in the @EdwardJones #ChattingCage this afternoon at 4:30pm: http://t.co/zs0MUU79zG— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 2, 2014
• "This year, the park added a handful of new food and drink items to push its menu beyond typical ballpark fare." - "Nationals Park food guide: G sandwiches, sushi, craft cocktails" - Rachel Nania, WTOP.com
• "Stephen Strasburg’s maiden outing of 2014 was a tad underwhelming, in spite of the end result..." - "Statistically Speaking: Strasburg’s First Outing" - Stuart Wallace, District Sports Page
• NL EAST UPDATES:
• Phillies: "The Curious Handling of Jake Diekman" - Corinne Landrey, Crashburn Alley
• Mets: "Bobby Parnell's assignment to the disabled list following the revelation that he has sustained a tear to the MCL in his right elbow..." - "With Bobby Parnell out, Jose Valverde likely to close for Mets" Jeffrey Litt, Amazin' Avenue
• Marlins: "The Marlins lost 100 games a year in just about every way imaginable." - "Miami Marlins grind out win over Colorado Rockies" - Clark Spencer, MiamiHerald.com
RECAP: @FreddieFreeman5 hits two blasts in #Braves' 5-2 win over the Brewers: http://t.co/j9sg25FmT9 pic.twitter.com/lptbV3nY9y— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) April 2, 2014
• Braves: "Sure, one game is not supposed to mean more than one win or win loss, but does anyone else think that Freddie Freeman isn’t ready to explode?" - "Is Freddie Freeman ready for bigger things?" - Christina Kahrl, SweetSpot Blog - ESPN