Dusty Baker told reporters on Tuesday that there really wasn’t anything new to report on Bryce Harper’s stiff neck after the Washington Nationals’ lineup for the first of two with the Cleveland Indians was released and Harper’s name wasn’t on it.
“It’s the same thing,” Baker said. “We were hoping that just a couple days would — you know, like a stiff neck, he’s been getting worked on and stuff, and again, anybody that’s had a stiff neck realizes how tough that is, especially to swing, so he’s on a day-to-day basis.”
Harper left Saturday’s game against the San Francisco Giants early so he could rest the neck, which had been bothering him for a few days at that point, and Baker hoped the rest would allow the 23-year-old infielder to heal enough that he could return.
Harper continued to work out, but Baker said on Tuesday that they actually told the outfielder to stop.
“We suggested he shut it down, because he could be making it worse,” Baker said.
“It depends on which side it is. I’ve seen guys actually get hot at that time, depending on which side it is. It prevents you from jerking your head, but I think his is on the left side. When I had it, it was on my right side, and so that actually helped me. So we just have to wait to see. I don’t have any more to tell you. I know it’s big news, but I don’t want to just make up something.”
Harper, who’s struggled at the plate over the last few months, was starting to square up some pitches before the neck issue came up, but he’s going to miss another game this afternoon.
Brian Goodwin starts for the first time in the majors in right this afternoon.
Here’s the Nationals’ lineup for the second of two with the Indians in Nationals Park:
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