Jul 21, 2012, 9:05 PM EDT
Associated Press photo
Bryce Harper reacts to fouling a bunt off his left ankle.
Updated at 5:05 p.m.
Bryce Harper was forced out of the first game of today’s doubleheader after fouling a ball off his left ankle, but the Nationals appeared to dodge a bullet upon learning the rookie outfielder suffered only a bruise, not a fracture of any type.
Harper was attempting to bunt in the bottom of the first inning when he fouled Braves right-hander Ben Sheets’ pitch off the top of his back foot, near the ankle joint. The 19-year-old hobbled around for several minutes while assistant trainer Mike McGowan and manager Davey Johnson tended to him, but convinced the duo to let him return to the batter’s box and complete the at-bat.
Harper wound up striking out on Sheets’ next pitch, then limped his way out to center field for the top of the second inning. He attempted to take some swings in the batting cage underneath the first-base stands but was unable to put any weight on the foot.
“He was down hitting and trying to swing with it,” Johnson said. “They said he can’t even swing. He’s trying like heck, and he can’t even swing, can’t land on it. So that’s why I took him out.”
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