Nationals' slugger Bryce Harper was originally penciled in as part of the lineup for Saturday afternoon's game against the Cincinnati Reds, but Washington's 22-year-old outfielder was scratched an hour before what ended up being an 8-5 loss in Great American Ball Park.
Harper spoke to reporters after the game about the damage done by the fastball Reds' lefty Tony Cingrani hit him with in the seventh inning on Friday night.
Asked how his back felt a day later, Harper said, "Not very good."
"I tried to get in here this morning and try to get loose a little bit, but when I went out on the field it didn't feel very good. It's more spine, it's not really back. So it's more of a bruise on the spine, and so take it day-by-day and see how I feel."
He also said there was a possibility that he might have to miss the series finale as well.
"I'm not sure," Harper said. "Just see how I feel in the morning. See if I can get loose or not. It's not really a muscle thing or anything like that, it's just more of that bone."
"It's not very fun to go through definitely," he added.
"We'll just have to check him in the morning," Matt Williams said.
"Lots of treatment today and we'll see how he is tomorrow."
Harper was available on Saturday, but as Williams explained it, only in an "extreme emergency situation."
"He's pretty sore, it hit him right on the spine. So any time that happens, you're going to be sore, so we'll see how he is tomorrow."
Harper explained that he didn't want to risk doing further damage by compensating for the pain, which he said was right on his 10th and 11th vertebrae.
"When I swing and I turn it doesn't feel very good," Harper explained.
"So, caution today definitely, I went in there tried to swing it a little bit, but it didn't feel very good, so I don't want to switch anything up, I don't want to tweak anything or try to do something else that I haven't been doing. So I'll see how I feel tomorrow. If I don't feel good then probably take another day. Of course, I don't want to do that, but if it's smart enough for me then I'll do that and come back Monday and try to see how I feel then."
When the lineup for today's game was released this morning, Harper was penciled in again. Will he be on the field when the third game of three in GABP starts at 1:10 PM? Stay tuned...