Apr 26, 2014, 12:25 AM EDT
Updated at 12:25 a.m.
Bryce Harper’s biggest hit in two weeks may have come at a price, but the Nationals’ young star doesn’t believe the left thumb injury he suffered Friday night sliding into third base on a clutch triple is serious.
“I didn’t think so,” Harper said following the Nationals’ 11-1 win over the Padres. “When you hit it, you know whether it’s pretty serious or not. It just swelled up a little bit, and that was pretty much it.”
X-rays taken on Harper’s thumb were negative. He’ll be re-evaluated Saturday morning, at which point the Nationals will decide whether he can play the third game of this weekend series or whether he’ll need more rest.
“I haven’t looked at it yet, but it just kind of twisted on him,” manager Matt Williams said. “But all indications are he’s OK right now.”
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the third Friday night, Harper drilled a 3-2 fastball from San Diego lefty Robbie Erlin off the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center, clearing the bases and giving the Nationals a 5-0 lead. He slid hard into third base to complete the triple and clapped his hands in celebration before clutching his hand and shaking it for a few seconds.
Harper remained in the game at that point and scored on Jose Lobaton’s RBI single two batters later. He took his spot in left field for the top of the fourth and had two balls hit his way in the inning, once attempting to throw behind Will Venable on a single, then failing to cleanly scoop a bloop hit by Nick Hundley.
When the top of the fifth began, Nate McLouth took Harper’s spot in left field.
“Went out there to the outfield, swelled up a bit,” said Harper, who had the thumb wrapped in a bandage after the game. “I thought we were in a good spot (up 6-0 in the game) and Matt did, too. Got in, got some treatment on it. Put some ice in there and see how it felt.”
Said Williams: “He could’ve continued to play tonight, I think, but we thought it best to get on it right away.”
Harper was enjoying his best offensive night of his season, also driving in a run with a first-inning infield single. His four RBI in the game were a career-high, the bases-loaded triple his biggest hit since a third-deck home run on April 9.
His abrupt departure put a damper on that performance, but Harper isn’t worried it will throw off his timing at the plate.
“It sucks, but I feel like my swing is where it needs to be,” he said. “I feel good. Staying on a lot of pitches and having good at-bats. Hopefully I come in tomorrow and it feels pretty good.”
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