Asked last night, after various sources told reporters the Washington Nationals planned to bring Bryce Harper back for tonight’s game with the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park, if he expected to have his 24-year-old outfielder back in the lineup, Baker said, “... we’re still trying to make up our minds, and so we’ll let you know tomorrow.”
“I know you guys are going to be up all night trying to figure it out,” he added with a wry smile.
When the lineup was released this afternoon, however, Harper’s name was not listed.
We’ll likely have to wait until Baker talks to reporters this afternoon before we get an explanation for why Harper is not included.
Harper went down with a significant bone bruise in his left knee and a strain of the calf in his left leg on August 12th.
He took part in his second simulated game this past Saturday, and the rumors had him returning to the lineup tonight barring any setbacks.
UPDATE-ISH: According to a report from MASN’s Byron Kerr this afternoon, which Washington Post writer Jorge Castillo just posted as well, Harper’s simply not feeling well, and the fact that he’s not in the lineup tonight has nothing to do with an issue with his leg. I know the conspiracy-minded among you won’t buy it, but that’s the reporting, and they are citing GM Mike Rizzo on those reports:
Bryce Harper looks like an extra day at least. Rizzo says under the weather. Not due to leg— Byron Kerr (@masnKerr) September 25, 2017
Rizzo said look at Bryce Harper. You'll see why. Presumably just not feeling good— Byron Kerr (@masnKerr) September 25, 2017
Word is Harper isn't feeling well. Nothing to do with injury/rehab.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) September 25, 2017
Before the injury, the 2010 No. 1 overall pick was looking like he had a shot at another NL MVP award, with a .326/.419/.614 line, 27 doubles and 29 home runs in 106 games and 472 plate appearances, over which he was worth 5.0 fWAR.
So... maybe he’ll be back tomorrow?