There were a few moments of uneasiness for Washington Nationals fans on Monday night during the series opener in Atlanta, Georgia's Turner Field, most of them in the ninth, but also in the fourth inning when Nate Schierholtz emerged from the dugout for a two-out at bat in Bryce Harper's spot in the Nats' lineup.
After Schierholtz sruck out to end the top of the inning, the Braves' broadcast went back through video of the Nationals' 21-year-old outfielder's previous at bat, a strikeout in the second, looking for signs of when or how he might have injured himself, but turned up nothing more than footage of Harper swinging over a filthy 1-2 slider from Ervin Santana.
In a season full of injuries to a number of the Nats' everyday players and with Harper still working his way back to 100% following surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb which cost him 57 games early this season, there were a few minutes there were all of NatsTown wondered just what was wrong with the 2010 no.1 overall pick, but the Nationals, via Twitter, calmed those concerns when they sent the following message out:
Bryce Harper was removed from tonight's game after feeling lightheaded.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 16, 2014
To ease the tension even more, MLB's At Bat app came up with humorous wording to describe the issue:
After the Nationals fought through a late threat and beat the Braves, 4-2, lowering their magic number for securing a postseason berth to 2, Matt Williams discussed the issue with Harper with reporters.
"Bryce is alright," the Nats' skipper said. "I think he may have the stuff that everybody else got.
"He was a little lightheaded out there, not feeling great. So we'll see how he is tomorrow. But he may have a little bit of the gunk that everybody else has had too."
Adam LaRoche and Anthony Rendon already dealt with the flu-like symptoms that are going around the Nationals' clubhouse, and both returned swinging hot bats after some time off.
Williams said Harper let the team know something was off.
"He just came in and said, 'I'm not feeling real good,'" Wiliams explained. "So at this point in the season we're certainly not pushing that and with the history that we've had over the last few days with everybody else, we understand that if he gets it it's not real fun, so I wanted to get him out of there."
No word on whether or not Harper will be available for the second game of three with the Braves tonight.
Heading into the series with the Braves, Harper was off to a strong start in September with a .280/.333/.460 line and three home runs in 13 games and 56 plate appearances so far this month.
Harper was 0 for 1 before exiting the game in Atlanta.