Apr 16, 2013, 10:14 PM EST
USA Today Sports Images
Bryce Harper is sitting out his first game of the season tonight.
MIAMI — Davey Johnson has been looking for ways to get his bench players more at-bats, but this wasn’t what the Nationals manager had in mind.
With Bryce Harper and Denard Span each sidelined due to flu-like symptoms and Danny Espinosa still out with a bruised right hand, the Nationals are forced to start three backups in tonight’s game against the Marlins, leaving Johnson with only two healthy players on his bench: pinch-hitter Chad Tracy and catcher Jhonatan Solano.
The Nationals are hopeful neither Harper nor Span is seriously ill, though each outfielder has been unable to keep food down since late last night. Span arrived at Marlins Park in mid-afternoon but was quickly sent back to the team hotel to rest. Harper arrived late, around 4:45 p.m., but did not take the field with his teammates for batting practice.
There’s no telling at this point when either player will be ready to return to the lineup, but Johnson hopes they’ll be back for Wednesday’s series finale.
“I know it’s been going around D.C., the same thing,” Johnson said. “I hope it’s just a 24-hour flu. But with some guys, it hangs on for two or three days.”
ON THE RADIO
TUE: 12:45 p.m., 4:30 p.m.
WED: 2:30 p.m.
THU: 4:30 p.m.
FRI: 12:45 p.m., 2:30 p.m.
SAT: 9:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com.
- Granderson, Mets reach $60M, 4-yr deal
- Could Michael Morse return to the National League?
- Nate McLouth gives Nats depth & insurance
- Nats still have things to do at Winter Meetings
- Napoli, Red Sox agree on 2-year, $32M deal
- Nats 1B Adam LaRoche to join USO Holiday Tour
- Carlos Beltran, Yankees agree at $45M, 3 years
- Nationals sign outfielder McLouth to 2-year deal
- Phillies looking to trade CL Jonathan Papelbon
- Mariners sign Robinson Cano to 10-year, $240 million deal