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Red-hot Harper still has sore thumb

Mar 26, 2013, 8:55 PM EDT

USA Today Sports Images
Bryce Harper connects for one of his two hits this afternoon.

JUPITER, Fla. — You wouldn’t know it based on the results he’s had at the plate, but Bryce Harper continues to be bothered by a swollen left thumb and may need to take the last couple days of spring training off to ensure he’s completely healed in time for Opening Day.

The Nationals’ second-year outfielder initially hurt himself on Friday when he was jammed by a pitch from Tigers left-hander Drew Smyly. He was held out of the following day’s game but returned strong on Sunday and has been on a tear ever since.

Harper’s third-inning RBI single to right field this afternoon against the Marlins was his ninth consecutive hit, raising his Grapefruit League batting average to a hefty .476. Turns out he got jammed again on that hit, though, and had to consider not coming up to bat again two innings later.

“He got jammed a little bit,” manager Davey Johnson said. “I might have to give him a couple days off, I don’t know. Usually those are just kind of nagging injuries … but if it gets real bad, you give him a little cortisone in there and that quiets it down. But I don’t know if it’s that bad.”
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  1. Ivan Tuski - Mar 26, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    "Kid needs to suck it up" -Rob Dibble

  2. Ivan Tuski - Mar 26, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    "Kristina Akra, who served as a sideline reporter covering the Washington Nationals for MASN in 2012, joined MLB Network on Monday."I knew we needed to lock her down

  3. Ivan Tuski - Mar 26, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    "Akra, a popular broadcaster, was best known for getting Gatorade showers after the Nats won a game."-OK now I think this is appropriate for a childish grown man like myself to post on a blog, but from a serious journalist? What did he walk off the set of Madmen?

  4. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Mar 26, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Hard to hide a sore thumb.

  5. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 26, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    The way I see it, this team as constructed by Rizzo and Johnson, given good health, is built to score more runs and give up fewer runs than the team that played last season.That's good enough for me.

  6. NatsNut - Mar 26, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    Did Henry pitch today?

  7. Rabbit34 - Mar 26, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    All I can say is….stay sore Harper! Harper, the best player in baseball.

  8. Rabbit34 - Mar 26, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    Kristina is gone!! What a BUMMER!

  9. Candide - Mar 26, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    (Re-posting from late in previous post…)Been thinking about how good the Nats will be this year. Easiest way (for me, anyway), is to go down the list of the regulars and see how I think they'll do compared to last year.Going around the infield:LaRoche: Don't see him having a better year next year, given his age and the fact that last year was a career season for him. Expect him to regress to his norm, which still ain't bad.Danny: Everything I'm hearing is that he seems to have grown up as a hitter. Looking for him to have similar power as last year, but with much better OBP and fewer KsDesmond: Tough one to call. Was last year a career year, or was it his new norm? I think the latter, at least until I see evidence otherwise. But I'm not going to predict an even better year this season.Zimm: His post-cortisone season was great. If he avoids injury, expect him to hit .290 or so, 30-35 homers, 110-120 RBIs with all the men on base he's going to see (assuming Harper doesn't clear the decks ahead of him). If LaRoche is having a poor season, expect Zimm to get a lot more walks.Catcher: Ramos/KSuz has to be a big improvement over KSuz/Whoever Isn't Injured. Glad to see Wilson in good shape. Now if he can just learn to hold on to throws from the outfield…Outfield:Werth: His OPS last year was right at his career average, despite falloff in home run power. He's much more of a doubles hitter now than in Philly, and strikes out a lot less. At 33, hard to see him having better OPS than his career average, but not having him miss half the season has to help the team.Center Field: Span won't hit nearly as well as Harper did last year, but should be better defensively.Harper: We won't miss Morse at the plate with Harper taking his place. Or in left field, for that matter. Anyone want to bet whether or not he'll hit .400?So at the plate, we have two players who (I think) won't be as good as last year (or the guy they replace in the field) – LaRoche and Span. Three who will put up similar numbers to last year (Desmand, Zimm, and Werth, adjusting the latter two for injury time). And three who should be better – Espinosa, catcher, Harper/left field. Overall, a somewhat better lineup.Starting Pitching:All the starters except Gio and Haren are at the stage of their careers where they're maturing. So I'm looking for all of them to be better, for various reasons. Strasburg because 200 innings, and he looks stronger (have you seen his legs? Calves look like Popeye the Sailor's). Zimmermann because he apparently now has a changeup, which Boswell says is like teaching a gorilla to use a machine gun. Detwiler because he started showing last year that he trusts his stuff. I don't see Gio being better than last year – maybe a little less rattle-prone with experience. Haren… tough call; is he back from his injury last year? Or was giving up four homers to the Marlins today a harbinger of bad things to come?Starting Pitching conclusion: Three better, one regressing somewhat, one a big question mark.Bull pen: I really don't think it's going to be as much of a problem as some people here seem to think. Davy wants his starters to go longer this season, and there's no reason they shouldn't. With Soriano, Storen, Clippard, and the rest, finding two guys per game to pitch the eighth and ninth shouldn't be too hard.So I think we're definitely a somewhat stronger team than last year's 98-win squad. Would be interested to know other people think.I know at least one guy sees them at 81-81…

  10. natsfan1a - Mar 26, 2013 at 10:19 PM

    Henry's not in the boxscore, so no.

  11. natsfan1a - Mar 26, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    But there is a Wookie in the boxscore, on the other side.

  12. Steady Eddie - Mar 26, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    Was 6 innings for Haren, one each for Mattheus (who wasn't bad at all, just got burned by mediocre defensive play, or I should say misplay, by the infield backups which would likely not have been made by the regulars — not only Tracy's throwing error, but a wild throw by Lombo (THAT was unusual) on what should have been a DP grounder, and then Pierre's "hit" was an easy grounder that went right under Rivero's glove. So other than Haren's penchant for gopher balls, not really a bad day by the regulars. I will worry about Haren only if this continues into the regular season; like ALR, he's a seasoned pro who I will assume takes ST at his own pace. There were also three warning track shots by Desi (which actually was pulled back over the fence by a great catch), Danny, and TMo, at least two of which would have gone out if they weren't fighting a 15+ mph wind blowing from left to right.Oh, and for anyone worried about DSpan — his OBP is .359.As NatsJack said, barring major injury, they'll be fine.

  13. Steady Eddie - Mar 26, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Forgot to add – and another dominant inning from Clip.

  14. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 26, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Clippard has thrown a breaking pitch to each hitter that he has thrown at least 3 pitches. And he's thrown it for strikes.He should be close to unhittable with an added pitch in his arsenal.

  15. Another_Sam - Mar 26, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    i was going to post this even before I readt the AK piece just now. Have any of you seen Zimmerman's throwing this spring? He didn't get many changes in the the games I saw. In those games last week he made the sidearm slinging through more or less okay. But the one time he speared one deep and needed to plant and throw hard, he couldn't or didn't do it. And in soft toss before the games he looked akward. Have you guys seen him throwing okay this spring?

  16. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    Sam….Sunday, he got one of those hit right at him that he could take some time on and threw 3/4 arm. The throw was on line but short and LaRoche made one of his patented scoops.With me, the jury is still out. I think his arm and shoulder are OK. I think it's in his head.

  17. SonnyG10 - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said…The way I see it, this team as constructed by Rizzo and Johnson, given good health, is built to score more runs and give up fewer runs than the team that played last season.That's good enough for me.March 26, 2013 5:39 PMI'm liking the way you see it NJ.

  18. JaneB - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    So, when they play in Florida on Thursday, do they just put all the gear on a plane and ship it up here? That gives them not much time to get the clubhouse all set up. These are the things I'm worrying about these days.

  19. Joe Seamhead - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    Sam, I watched Zimmerman warming up last week and he looked great. As to Haren, I think he'll be fine. Span? I like the idea of a rattle, rattle, rattle lead off guy. I sure hope he's the guy Rizzo envisions.

  20. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 26, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    Gear goes on the road tomorrow after the game.Players and staffs cars get loaded on transports and delivered to Nats Park where they will pick them up Thursday night.They'll wear new uniforms Friday.

  21. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2013 at 12:41 AM

    Speaking of Opening Day, Duffy's is having an After-Party starting at 4 pm (weekday, I guess they can't open early).

  22. Faraz Shaikh - Mar 27, 2013 at 1:11 AM

    NatsJack, Clip's breaking pitch, is it new or you are referring to the change-up he occasionally used last season, not as often and not too confident about it I believe?

  23. Faraz Shaikh - Mar 27, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    I thought this was interesting: http://bit.ly/XbJfTc

  24. Ghost Of Steve M. - Mar 27, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Clippard has thrown a breaking pitch to each hitter that he has thrown at least 3 pitches. And he's thrown it for strikes.He should be close to unhittable with an added pitch in his arsenal. March 26, 2013 6:47 PM With one of the best changeups in the Majors, and now perfecting the bender will give him a great go to pitch to keep the batters guessing.

  25. Ghost Of Steve M. - Mar 27, 2013 at 1:37 AM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Sam….Sunday, he got one of those hit right at him that he could take some time on and threw 3/4 arm. The throw was on line but short and LaRoche made one of his patented scoops.With me, the jury is still out. I think his arm and shoulder are OK. I think it's in his head. March 26, 2013 7:07 PM I am with you NatsJack. Mind over matter I think the scientists say.

  26. SonnyG10 - Mar 27, 2013 at 1:47 AM

    Now I've heard of everything. The Iron Pigs have installed video games screen above urinals in the mens room. The discription is hilarious. Check it out. http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/26/17477173-pa-minor-league-team-installs-urinal-gaming-system?lite

  27. SonnyG10 - Mar 27, 2013 at 1:49 AM

    …description…

  28. NatsNut - Mar 27, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    OMG, SonnyG, that is hysterical!"Players will be given a score at the end of their game. The high scorers will be displayed in real-time on video boards inside the ballpark. Players will also be ranked and recognized on the team's website."

  29. Scooter - Mar 27, 2013 at 5:36 AM

    Fellas, it's been fun. I'm moving to Lehigh Valley!

  30. Anna Peregrina - Mar 27, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    "X-Stream Sport!"

  31. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 27, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    Faraz…. not sure what you were watching last year but Clip has counted on his change up as HIS pitch…. and last year hitters knew it was 50/50 that they'd see it and killed it when he was up with it.The breaking ball is not new…. just never used…..and therefore ineffective…. He's now using it and it is good.

  32. natsfan1a - Mar 27, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    If only they could harness the energy of such matches on fan blogs…

  33. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Prostate health, yeah, whatever. This is going to sell beer, and plenty of it.what did penguins do?

  34. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    "The high scorers will be displayed in real-time on video boards inside the ballpark."That needs clarification. What are they displaying, exactly?

  35. natsfan1a - Mar 27, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    I was wondering the same thing. I hope it's the names/monikers of players rather than, um, you know…

  36. natsfan1a - Mar 27, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    joysticks

  37. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Mar 27, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    "User interfaces"

  38. natsfan1a - Mar 27, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Yeah, that sounds better.

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