Apparently 93 mph fastballs to the back can do some damage. Washington Nationals' slugger Bryce Harper, who took a fastball from Cincinnati Reds' reliever Tony Cingrani in the numbers last night in a seventh-inning at bat, stayed in for the rest of the game and was penciled into this afternoon's lineup, but an hour-plus before the start of today's matchup he has apparently been scratched.
Reports from Great American Ball Park say that it's a sore back that's behind the late scratch:
Nats say Bryce Harper was scratched from today's lineup with a sore back. He was hit in the back by a pitch last night.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) May 30, 2015
Bryce Harper scratched from today's #Nats lineup with a sore back.— Chris Johnson (@masnCJ) May 30, 2015
Reds' skipper Bryan Price spoke about the HBP after Cincinnati's 5-2 win, assuring reporters that with a runner on in what was a 4-2 game at the time, the pitch was not intentional. Harper didn't appreciate it either way, and let Cingrani know, then got into it a bit with first baseman Joey Votto as he slowly made his way to first base.
"No one likes to get hit," Reds' skipper Bryan Price told reporters after the game.
"If you bring in a relief pitcher and the first pitch comes out and it hits the first hitter in the back, nobody is going to feel too good about that. Your immediate emotion is probably to think that it's intentional, certainly we're not going to bring in a lefty to hit him and then have to face Zimmerman with a lefty/righty matchup. So, yeah, guys get pissed when they get hit, I get it. But I don't think it will escalate, it would have to from on their side to do something and certainly we weren't trying to hit anybody in that situation."
Regardless of intention, the pitch managed to spare the Reds from having to face the "hottest hitter on the planet" in the second game of three in GABP.
In 25 games in May, after a 1 for 4 night in Cincinnati in the series opener, the 22-year-old, 2010 no.1 overall pick is 31 for 84 (.369/.495/.905) with four doubles, a triple, 13 HRs, 20 walks and 17 Ks in 105 plate appearances.
Here's the Nationals' update lineup: