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Source: Harper needs surgery, out 6-8 weeks

Apr 28, 2014, 5:59 PM EST


Bryce Harper needs surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and is expected to miss approximately two months, a source familiar with the Nationals outfielder’s condition confirmed Monday evening.

Harper was examined by a specialist at The Cleveland Clinic earlier Monday, receiving a second opinion after having his thumb examined by another specialist Saturday at Nationals Park. The diagnosis, according to the source, is a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

Surgery is planned for Tuesday, with full recovery not expected until late-June or early-July.

Harper injured himself sliding headfirst into third base on a bases-loaded triple Friday night against the Padres. He jammed his left thumb into the base, then grabbed his hand and shook it after getting up to his feet. Harper remained in the game for another inning, fielding two balls in left field, then was removed once the thumb began to swell up.

At the time, the 21-year-old outfielder was upbeat, believing the injury wasn’t severe and that he could be back within a matter of days. Even after he landed on the disabled list Sunday, Harper was hopeful he’d be ready to return to the Nationals’ lineup after the minimum 15 days.

The injury, though, proved more severe than originally expected, similar to one suffered recently by Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton.

The Nationals, already without key regulars Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos due to hand injuries, now face the prospect of playing without Harper for a prolonged stretch.

General manager Mike Rizzo signed veteran Nate McLouth in December to a two-year, $10.75 million contract, explicitly pointing out how much the club’s previous No. 4 outfielders were needed over the last three seasons. Now McLouth, who opened the season just 4-for-31 at the plate, figures to get significant playing time in left field, with Kevin Frandsen, Tyler Moore and Scott Hairston (once the latter returns from a strained oblique muscle) also contributing.

157 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. originalnatsfan - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:03 PM

    drat , I was afraid of this. Get well everybody.

  2. Doc - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    That’s two guys sliding into bases that have been injured.

    Careless stuff.

    Might try holding batting gloves in each hand when running the bases.

    • David Proctor - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      Harper was running on a triple, so it wouldn’t have helped.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      It’s like bryce can’t win for losing… People say he doesn’t hustle enough, but then people get upset when he hustle…

      No wonder the kid can’t get it right…

      Ryan was diving back in to avoid the pick off… You never slide feet first in that situation…
      Bryce was trying to get the most out of a 2b, which he did… Don’t understand how that was ‘careless’…

      • lplipty - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:15 PM

        It’s careless because of game and score situation

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        No… Have we not seen when this team has given up a big league.. I sure have.. So he was getting the most out of it, again, how is that careless…

        Had the Nats been up by 8/9 then sure, but they weren’t…

      • Steady Eddie - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:27 PM

        It’s like bryce can’t win for losing… People say he doesn’t hustle enough, but then people get upset when he hustle…

        Sorry, but this is just silly. Would you say the same thing if he just ran heedlessly into a wall? (That is NOT to say that he was heedless last year, mostly showing his inexperience in playing the deep outfield in unfamiliar parks.)

        Hustle needs to be smart and under control. No matter how many players do it, the risks of sliding headfirst — unless you really can’t realistically avoid it, as with RZim — massively, disproportionately outweigh the benefits, especially compared to sliding feetfirst.

        I agree with those on this site who are saying the biggest challenge for Bryce is in getting past the emotional responses of a 21 year old. Yes, you learn from experience – but you tend to learn too much and overcompensate in the opposite direction. And it’s all the harder, I’m sure when you’re under such an unimaginable spotlight and put the highest expectations on yourself to excel, as he clearly does.

        This isn’t specific to baseball particularly, it’s general to life.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:32 PM

        Nothing silly about the statement at all Eddie.. Obviously, you haven’t heard or chose not to hear all the criticism Bryce has gotten…

        First he didnt run it out… And folks got mad saying he needs to hustle… Where here is a situation where Bryce hustles and what do you do now… Say how he is all wrong and now criticizing him for his hustle… Again you can’t win for losing..

        Yeah you bring up the fact that he ran into a wall (from lack of experience) and make it seem like he wanted to injure his thumb… Like, why? What does that have to do with this?

        Sure Bryce has things to work on but everything you said was irrelevant..

      • emdash01 - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:33 PM

        But many, many players slide headfirst on triples. It’s incredibly common – it’s just usually not noted because it’s usually uneventful. It’s pretty much a fluke that it lead to a serious injury. And I don’t think it would be attributed to too much hustle if the preexisting narrative wasn’t there already for Harper.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:35 PM

        I completely agree emdash… We see a lot of sliding head first… Again, it’s just unfortunate… I mean looks at Ryan Z…

        Harper hasn’t had a great year… A lot of blunders, so it’s all compounded and now people are attributing it to everything…

      • texnat1 - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:35 PM

        C’mon Mrsb, there is nothing tricky about running out everything to first base. There is no danger of being reckless in doing that.

      • Steady Eddie - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:35 PM

        Thank you. Not worth bothering arguing relevance with someone who imagined so many things in what I wrote that I never actually said or implied.

      • texnat1 - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:35 PM

        Also, RZim was very unlucky, but he had wandered off of second stupidly. So that is not a hustle play either and was careless.

      • Dave - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:37 PM

        I’m absolutely with Steady on this. Hustle/no hustle is not a binary, on-off thing. There are shades of gray.

        I actually saw some stupid comments from people on Twitter yesterday–including Keith Law–implying that MW was somehow responsible for this injury because he benched Bryce for not running it out to first.

        Sheer idiocy. There is a huge difference between not even jogging 90 feet to first base and sliding into a base head first with hands outstretched.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:39 PM

        TextNat… Who was the player that got hurt running it out on first base last year.. Pitcher stepped on foot or something…

        The bigger point in being that it was a freak accident… Just like Ryan’s was a freak accident..

        Steady, when you actually have an arguement or valid point, then we can discuss it… But everything you said had nothing to do with the original posters point… Which I commented on..

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:42 PM

        Ryan got picked off… It wasn’t stupid… We see this all the time.. Where base runners give themselves a lead… And get back… It wants not careless or anything…

      • Steady Eddie - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:12 PM

        @CharlieSlowes: “Experts” stop saying diving gets you there faster. Pedroia, Hamilton, Harper–enough. Go “old school.” #StarsNeedtoPlay.

        The results here speak for themselves. Nuff said.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:16 PM

        Well, Steady… That’s a different argument…

        You/we never know is the Nats are telling all the players to stop sliding head first (Desi does it too).. Or if this latest injury will have them telling… We will see…

      • scmargenau - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:20 PM

        Bryce should worry about running hard 90 to first if he wants to hustle. He was nearly out because he gave up (again) vs cards. The triple injury is indeed unfortunate, but preventable. Bryce has been hurt now for almost 30% of games eligible. Injury prone. Perhaps a lemon?

        mclouth move look really good about now….

      • Hiram Hover - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:21 PM

        +1 to Steady @ 6.27

  3. Doc - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    By the way, let’s not forget about Souza being on the list of available OFs.

  4. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:10 PM

    Any ways… 2 words – mother. Sucker.

    I swear, we can’t win for losing… Really need Desi to get on and stay on so he can contribute…

    • Eric - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:21 PM

      His 3/4 day recently was a good sign.

      I also agree with whomever it was that said a few threads back that they still feel McLouth was a good investment that will pay off, citing his professionalism. Throughout the season so far, as one hard hit ball after another went directly to a fielder, he’s never seemed flustered, and has continued to be patient at the plate. I have faith he can produce within reasonable striking distance of Harper’s underwhelming numbers (for him) to start this season. If he can do that, I think we’ll make it through this OK, as we’ve had excellent production so far despite Harper’s relative lack of output.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:28 PM

        Yes… Desi’s 3/4 was a good sign… Hoping he can continue it…

        I said it a few days ago… I thought McLouth needed to play every day… To get his timing right.. Thought they were going to sit Jayson for a few games when he was looking absolutely lost in RF… Hopefully McLouth can give it his all (and we benefit)… Were in complete agreement Eric.. :-)

      • unkyd59 - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:07 PM

        And he was 3-5, the next day… 😉

  5. natsguy - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    Time for left field by committee.

  6. emdash01 - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    Does this team seem to have a freakishly high number of fluke injuries, or is it just me?

    • David Proctor - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:17 PM

      A little of both. Look at the Rangers. They lost a ton of guys, including their #2 starter who hurt his back playing with his dog. It’s not just us. It does seem to happen to more important players to us, though.

  7. Joe Seamhead - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:17 PM

    Getting harder everyday to stay optimistic.2012 this club was also beset with one injury after another. That was a year when most “expert” prognosticators picked the Nats to finish in 3rd, or 4th place, but somehow their really stupid manager [sic] guided them to the NL Eastern Division title. Now this new guy gets a real chance to show how smart he is.

    All sarcasm aside, Godspeed on your recovery Bryce Harper. I bleed for you, your team, your folks, and your fans,

    • natsjackinfl - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:24 PM

      Hey Joe. I have finally succumbed to the LOD when it comes to injuries with the Nats. From now on, all injuries will be deemed probably needing a coroner on standby until proven otherwise.

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:32 PM

        I’m telling you, it’s that damn Take On Me theme song. It’s bad ju-ju. We’ve all had our A-Ha moment, I tell you. It’s the curse of the Morse. It’s time to turn the page!

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:37 PM

        No, but seriously JoeS… I don believe that… I will not for the life of my understand why we are suing a former Nats walk up song… I mean folks act like Mike Morse was the come all, end all…


        But I do hate the song…

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:43 PM

        Oh, jeesh, a little tongue in cheek, MrsB.

      • BurnedOnce - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:45 PM

        +1 on aha

      • Joe Seamhead - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:47 PM

        We should change the title, and lyric to , “Take Out Me.”

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:49 PM

        Hahaha, JoeS… You missed mine… *snickers*

      • scmargenau - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:33 PM


    • Dave - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:48 PM

      Does anybody know whether the Beast is using that song in San Fran?

      • Eric - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:45 PM

        I read recently that he is.

        I’m beyond ready to put it to bed.

      • ArVAFan - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:59 PM

        OK, go ahead and object: I like the song. We were singing it to MM when we found out the Nats had clinched the division (Oct 1, 2012, if I recall correctly). So it takes me back to a good moment in Nats history. Another division title (or better) and I’ll be glad to substitute another one.

      • Section 222 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:53 PM

        I’m with you ArlVAF. Take on Me is a home grown tradition. Mickey Morse gave us the song, but we created the signature ending with the fans continuing to sing long after the walk up recording had ended. It was a great idea to make it our seventh inning stretch song. Why shouldn’t we continue the tradition and have something unique to DC and Nats Park other than the sub horn and Ben’s Chili Dogs?

        Every now and then you hear people saying it’s a jinx, or it’s responsible for the Nats’ problems. They are no better than the guy who thinks we lose because of certain uniforms that he doesn’t like. Seriously people?

  8. Sonny G 10 - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    Its just going to be one of those freaky years injury wise I guess. The Nats are not the first team to have to overcome devastating injuries. Lets see how well the boys can handle this adversity. Hope Rizzo did well with picking the backups.

  9. David Proctor - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    We need the pitching to really step up now. Strasburg, Gio and JZimm. No more clunkers from any of you (okay, maybe a couple…but make it RARE). Roark, keep doing your thing. Fister, get back soon.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:31 PM


    • Steady Eddie - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:32 PM

      You know, if we could get Fister back on May 6 rather than the apparent current schedule to bring him back on the seventh, we would not have to use TJ again, due to the off day after the Astros series.

      • David Proctor - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:34 PM

        Matt has said that he wants to get the guys a day of extra rest. He also didn’t sound like he was totally committed to that, though.

      • Section 222 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:54 PM

        I haven’t examined the timing. And the off days make it hard to predict I suppose. Is it possible that Fister and Kershaw will make the return to MLB starts against each other?

  10. texnat1 - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:32 PM

    Very disappointing. That brutal June schedule just got a lot harder.

  11. Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:34 PM

    It’s 20/20 hindsight… And unfortunate…

    Man, some big bats out the line up… Zimm, Ramos and now Harper… Can’t win for losing…

    New manager preached aggressiveness… I guess this is what we are seeing…

    • David Proctor - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:37 PM

      Bryce goes for that triple in middle school, high school, the minor leagues, his rookie year, last year and this year. What Matt said and did had no impact on that particular play. The timing is unfortunate, though.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:41 PM

        It’s an unfortunate accident… But Mw wanted aggressive… That was aggressive… We’ve see Harp slow up…

        But bigger point, it was an unfortunate accident… And sucks for us…

      • Hiram Hover - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:22 PM

        Yeah, that was BH, not MW.

    • Dave - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:42 PM

      Once again–absolutely no connection between Bryce’s benching and this. I actually give Bryce more credit than to assume that this was an overcompensation for being disciplined after he egregiously dogged it ten days ago.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:43 PM

        Who said anything about the benching?

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:45 PM

        I had no problem with going for the triple… It just sucks he got injured on it… I had no problem with MW benching Bryce… Or with the new aggressive mantra…

      • Dave - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:45 PM

        You didn’t–others have–but you keep insisting that MW’s call for aggressiveness led to this.

        I disagree.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:47 PM

        I don’t blame MW at all… And I disagree, like you, that this is Mw’s fault… What I’m sayin is that MW wanted more aggressive play… This was aggressive play, IMO… Idk if people can have it both ways…

      • Dave - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:50 PM

        Okay, sorry. I must’ve misunderstood what you were saying about “people” getting Harp for not hustling. The main one I’ve heard do that in the past two weeks was Williams.

  12. Sam - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    Faulting Harper for sliding head first is is like reprimanding a batter for getting hit by a pitch because he didn’t get out of the way correctly. It’s absurd.

    I wonder what the reaction would be if he slid feet first and broke his ankle. It’s a fluke. It happens. Move on.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:57 PM

      You are… Where I am… Most folks slide feet first going into 3rd… Quickest/fastest way to be safe… But yeah, it’s a moot point…just sucks ll around…

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:56 PM


  13. texnat1 - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    Slightly off topic, but some have suggested that Wilson Ramos will have no power when he returns from that hamate bone procedure. While there will likely be some lingering problems, I dug up this old article that makes it look like he might get his power back in a reasonable amount of time (or at least that its possible):

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:58 PM

      I’m trying to decide if I want to use A Pujols… Or the Panda as my hopes for how Ramos will come back… I swear, we can’t take anymore…

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:08 PM

        D’ooh… This is what happens, when you are watching the Angels/Yanks game… Didnt mean Pujols… Meant Tulo… Pujols was on my mind since I was watching him bat…

    • texnat1 - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:15 PM

      Tulo looks like he was better after than before. I’d take either though.

  14. manassasnatsfan - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    Again it goes back to the fact the medical staff cannot be trusted. Just a little swelling. No break.. a torn ligiment was even hinted at.

    To many fluke injuries for my taste.

    • Eric - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:55 PM

      Why are people so enamored of this idea that the medical staff should provide us any details whatsoever prior to final diagnosis and estimated timeline?

      • Sonny G 10 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:58 PM


      • Hiram Hover - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:08 PM

        I left the TV on after the Os game the other day and heard Buck’s post gamer presser.

        He was asked about the injury to Chris Davis–if he knew the results of the MRI. He said, yup, I know. And I’m not gonna tell you. “Nice try, though,” he told the reporter.

  15. Natsfool - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:57 PM

    I can’t forgive R Zimm’s injury because he had to dive back due to a brain fart – stupid ball. Williams has gotten into Harper’s head with the hustle stuff. He’s an idiot that’s destroying a valuable asset. I wouldn’t blame Harper if he asks for a trade. Williams is done as far as I’m concerned. How could Rizzo pick such an idiot. Management sucks.

    • David Proctor - Apr 28, 2014 at 6:59 PM

      Nice narrative. I’ve yet to hear you say a single positive thing about the team on this site. You’re a bad troll.

    • unkyd59 - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:14 PM

      Once again… Living down to your handle….

      • Hiram Hover - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:24 PM

        It helps to imagine that, as he’s typing, he’s wearing a harlequined jumpsuit and curly pointed shoes.

      • therealjohnc - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:42 PM

        Hiram, that’s hilarious. I shall see his hat & harlequin suit on all his posts from this point forward!

      • Sonny G 10 - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:00 PM


  16. Section 222 - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    This is terrible news. Just awful. Once again, we’re without Bryce for 6-8 weeks. Best case, that’s 40 games, at least 140 PAs folks. Once again, Bryce’s season isn’t going to be what it could have been. What a shame, for us, but more importantly, for him.

    I was at the game, and Bryce was hell bent on getting a triple on that hit. He also could very easily have been out if the shortstop making the relay throw hadn’t double clutched. More importantly, he had just cleared the bases with his hit, putting the Nats up 5-0 in the third inning with Stras on the mound. There’s no way to know, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the benching had some impact on his decision to try for a triple there. That’s not to say at all that MW is “responsible” but this is exactly the kind of play where Bryce needs to learn to play smart. It’s not quite running into walls, but it’s a situation where he needs to make sure he protects himself — whether it’s sliding feet first, or settling for a double when you see you’re going to go all out to make it to third. (By the way, he probably scores on Lobaton’s single anyway, but you can never predict that.)

    From the looks of the comments above, I doubt this view will be popular, but hustle does not equal reckless play. And this was at least borderline reckless. And very unfortunate.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:14 PM

      I think it’s different levels to the argument, maybe… Head-first vs feet first… Hustle/aggressive vs careless/reckless… No right or wrong answer, IMO, and people back it up with different views…

      I happen to not have an issue with the head first or the aggressiveness…

      But yeah, 1 thing we can all agree on is that this is terrible news… And with no game today, that makes it worst…

      • zmunchkin - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:56 PM

        I agree this is not good news. And as you, DP, and others have pointed out, the argument that head-first slides are more likely to result in injuries is just not supported by the available data.

        And the other frustrating thing about a number of the comments/commenters here is the hypocrisy. Bryce needs to hustle more; while at the same time saying that he needs to know when to lay off. Yea, right.

        And finally, neither MW nor Bryce did anything wrong. Injuries happen. And to criticize either of them for things that virtually every other MLB manager and virtually every other MLB player do every day is hypocrisy.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:15 PM

        Hyprocrisy, hyperbole, and hysteria — available here and throughout the world of baseball fans.

  17. stoatva - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    Don’t make me defend Matt Williams here, people. Just don’t.

  18. NatsLady - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:13 PM

    So, thumb injuries in 2011, 2013, and now 2014. An that doesn’t count his high school injury.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:18 PM

      He had a thumb injury in 2013… I was thinking Knee…

      • David Proctor - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:20 PM

        He jammed his thumb at the end of ST in 2013. It was minor but he missed a few games at the end of ST. Obviously didn’t hurt him at the start of the regular season though.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:22 PM

        Completely forgot bat that David… Thanks… Yeah didnt pay it any attention becuz of the fast start….

  19. NatsLady - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:14 PM

    I’m sorry. Matty was responsible for Harper injuring his thumb in high school, 2011, and 2013 how?

    • Eugene in Oregon - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:59 PM

      Logic? You expect logic and timelines and facts to influence the hardcore LOD folks? Good luck with that!

      • snerdblurter - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:17 AM

        +1 this thread is driving me up a wall

  20. David Proctor - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    For all the people insisting he slide feet-first:

    @injuryexpert: In best available study, HEAD FIRST slides had 3.53/1000 injury rate. FEET FIRST slides had 7.31/1000…

    • thecynicin408 - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:39 PM

      DP, if you follow @injuryexpert, can you update when he provides further info? At this point, all that I’ve seen is that it’s not his study and he will include more details in a later post. At this point, I don’t think any of us know what “best available study” means here.

      On the broader issue, I tend to agree with those who’ve said Bryce likely would have made the same slide in the same circumstances, whether or not he had gotten any criticism from the skipper a few days earlier. Injuries do happen and it’s unfortunate that he’s picked up two substantial ones in ’13 and ’14.

      • Hiram Hover - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:45 PM

        agreed – thanks to DP for digging that up, but it will be interesting to learn more than fits in 140 characters.

  21. Natsfool - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    How can anyone defend Williams? You just don’t misuse a valuable asset like Harper this way – humiliate a young boy in public. Especially after idiotically playing him in left, right and center last year. He was down on himself. You need to use tact. Plus he was just being aggressive like coach asked. Williams is a meathead and Rizzo an idiot for choosing him.

    • NatsLady - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:27 PM

      Matt Williams didn’t play Harper in RF this year. He did play him in center a couple of time, but CF is the least likely place he’ll run into a wall. I understand everyone is angry and upset, but Harper’s thumb is nothing compared to the tornadoes. Let’s keep some perspective and not insult each other.

      • Section 222 - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:25 PM

        He did play 2/3 of an inning in RF (April 11). But I agree with your point.

    • natsjackinfl - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:47 PM

      Funny but Natsfool and Riggleman seem to be similar, no?

      • knoxvillenat - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:06 PM

        Not at all.

    • scmargenau - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:34 PM

      Last year? Williams wasn’t the manager last year.

      • therealjohnc - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:44 PM

        Shhhhh. He’s on a roll.

        Nice harlequin suit, though

      • snerdblurter - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        …was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor???

  22. scnatsfan - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    And the next bad news will be…

  23. JayB - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    David define injury….cuts scrapes? No way head first is safer…what I would like to see is days on DL as the metric for head first vs feet first at the MLB level or at least pro level

    • Section 222 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:56 PM


  24. sunshinebobby - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:41 PM

    Man, dangerous neighborhood here today. Try the decaf, people.

    • iowanatsfan - Apr 28, 2014 at 7:45 PM

      +1, bobby!

      It isn’t careless for him to try for third, it isn’t careless for him to go in head first, but is IS careless of him not to have tucked his thumb in. Let’s hope for June rather than July, and perhaps a bit of maturing on Harp’s part.

    • chaz11963 - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:22 PM

      My thoughts exactly.

  25. natsfan1a - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    Haven’t read many comments in this thread but have read enough to decide not to delve further into them right now.

    My own reaction to the news was “oh, [crud].” Feel better, Bryce (and all the rest of those in the Nats injury corps).

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled, um, commenting.

  26. tony - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    Just like helmets, the Nats need to require hand guards for base runners.

  27. chaz11963 - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    Wow… just checking in here now. I really can’t imagine how anyone can possibly try to blame and judge MW or Bryce for this incident. Sh** happens. This is nothing but unfortunate bad luck for us fans, the Nats, and Bryce. But… he will be back and then look out.

    • Sonny G 10 - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:10 PM


    • snerdblurter - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:22 AM

      +1,000…. a lot of people are understandably upset about this, but that doesnt mean we should throw logic out the window in a misguided quest to find someone or something to blame….jeez… and its not just the crazies either. very weird.

  28. AlexandriaNatFan - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    Oh yeah, everyone?? Well, “my dad can beat up your dad…” :)

  29. nats128 - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    Get well soon Bryce. You did nothing wrong here. Just lousy outcome. See you in 6 weeks.

  30. David Proctor - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    Ryan Mattheus is back, but nobody knows who he is replacing.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:37 PM

      So, in response to your post about the head first vs feet first… I going this… May add more clarification

      • Hiram Hover - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:00 PM

        Thanks – interesting. For those who want a short summary –

        Bottom line up top: the difference in injury rates for different sliding techniques was not statistically significant.

        In a study of college baseball players from 2000, they observed 11 injuries in about 1000 slides (60% feet first) and 700 dive backs. Of the 11 injuries, only 3-4 led to a loss of playing time (most were cuts or bruises). The worst seems to have been–surprise–a collision at the plate.

    • texnat1 - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:51 PM

      I wonder if Mattheus is up to replace TJ with Det to the rotation?

      • zmunchkin - Apr 28, 2014 at 8:58 PM

        I am guessing he is replacing TJ. With off days, the Nats don’t need a fifth starter until mid-May. By then Fister should be ready. And, if not, 10 days will have gone by and so they can call up TJ.

    • secretwasianman - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:27 PM

      Nor do they care.

  31. David Proctor - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    Werth gave some quotes to Ladson on Bryce: Let’s talk about Bryce Harper. The media has made a big deal about his play of late. Do you think we are going overboard? How do you feel about our coverage of him?

    Werth: I haven’t been paying attention. I know there are some people that disagree with the way [manager Matt Williams] handled it, I think. There was a situation two nights later that [Harper] could have been taken out of the game for not hustling again. If [Albert Pujols] doesn’t throw that ball away, [Harper] is out at first for not hustling. That looks bad. It’s not how you play the game. He is young, he is learning.

    Usually, this stuff happens in Class A ball, when you are that age. He is learning at the big league level. At times, when I was taken out of the game in the South Atlantic League, nobody [cared], but since it’s up here, it’s so polarized. It’s definitely taken out of context, and to the extreme. That’s part of it. That’s how managers get talented players to be motivated. Harper is going to have thumb surgery on Tuesday, according to a report from How much will his loss hurt the Nationals?

    Werth: We’re gonna have to overcome many obstacles over the course of the season, big and small, in our quest for a championship. Hopefully we can weather the storm here early, as we get healthier later in the season.

    • stoatva - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:23 PM

      Werth is a grownup’s grownup.

    • scmargenau - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:20 PM

      I’m glad he mentioned the second non hustle to first base…I was amazed it wasn’t brought up more because it could have really hurt the team. Harper does need to grow up, he’s a selfish brat, and now he’s a brat who can’t stay healthy. Werth’s remark is just a hint of what others think. Maybe this injury will be a blessing for Bryce to reflect on sportsmanship, attitude and selflessness.

  32. janebeard - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:14 PM

    Ok. Prepared for the firestorm. I so so SO wish we had Morse instead of McLouth now. I just do.

    zmunckin, I’m with you. Injuries happen. We’ll have our full team back at the All-Star break. May these guys hold down the fort WELL till then.

    I’m totally curious about who Mattheus is replacing. I’m worried for Det. He’s a starter not a ‘pen guy, I hope he doesn’t get Lannaned.

    • Section 222 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      Det can’t be Lannaned. He doesn’t have options left.

  33. stoatva - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:22 PM

    A’s own Darvish. Weird.

  34. secretwasianman - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:23 PM

    Team was mediocre with Bryce. Now they will be bad. They will use these injuries as a excuse for being bad. When the reality is they already were not very good to begin with. Barves will run away with it.

    • stoatva - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:29 PM

      I don’t imagine your predictive skills have improved since Wednesday, so I’m not sweating it.

      • secretwasianman - Apr 28, 2014 at 9:47 PM

        Get back to me in August. Hope,I’m wrong

  35. stoatva - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    Of course the really interesting question is whether this will keep Bryce from getting elected to the All Star Team.

  36. David Proctor - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:18 PM

    William Ladson ‏@washingnats 25s
    Sources: The #Nats have optioned Taylor Jordan to Triple A Syracuse and are recalling Ryan Mattheus. #Nationals #MLB

    • scmargenau - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:23 PM

      Good move. Will help TJ I think.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:46 PM

        I agree with sending TaylorJ back and with the days off they can skip what would have been TaylorJ’s next start and Fister will be back shortly.

        Smart move.

  37. dcwx61 - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    Thankfully, Rizzo picked up McLouth in the offseason.
    As others said, Bryce hustles and will always try for the 3rd in that situation if he thinks he has a chance. It’s in his DNA.

  38. Theophilus T.S. - Apr 28, 2014 at 10:39 PM

    Harper’s injury is the product of youthful arrogance, invincibility, desire to be great and bad luck. Everybody who thinks Williams is responsible, shaddafugup!

  39. Scott - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    I blame this injury and general poor play by Bryce on his random slotting in the lineup. Like when he was batting 6th and bunting for a hit. With weak hitters behind you the best thing you can hope for is a sacrifice followed by best options from C and/or P positions. A 1 hitter bunts, a 6 should not.

    You can make a similar argument around his aggression on the injury play. You can know the situation but the context of viewing the situation in the lens of your lineup slot cannot be an easy thing to just reset whenever you move around.

    New topic: who gets to DH when out in Oakland? Tyler? Hairston?!

    • David Proctor - Apr 28, 2014 at 11:51 PM

      Oakland? We need a DH tomorrow in Houston! My guess is T-Mo or Frandsen.

      • Eric - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:45 AM

        Espi w/sore knee?

  40. natsfansect117 - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:26 AM

    Sorry for the rant…but here goes:
    Team leaders have a responsibility to their team, their coach, themselves and their fans to stay healthy.
    Sure, there is bad luck — and the Nats have had their share of bad luck over the past few years [e.g., Werth (wrist), Ramos (Knee, hand injury), RZim (shoulder), Stephen Strass (elbow)].
    But, at some point good players and leaders of winning teams find ways to stay on the field.
    It pains me to criticize JZim as I’m a huge JZim fan — he has brought me some of my fondest Nats memories. But, a leader of a contending team has to be responsible enough not to be caught napping on second – a rookie mistake. That irresponsibility leads to his injury – a clear ‘cause & effect’ relationship. Furthermore, very few have discussed the negative impact that a hot JZim suddenly leaving the line-up due to injury had on his teammates (Werth saw an immediate loss of production — for example) especially at time when the team’s clean-up hitter (Ramos) was already injured.
    Now, Harper, again starting to play to his potential, had a chance to support his teammates and help his team keep pace with the Braves while Ramos and JZim heal. Instead, he made the choice (yes – made the choice) to make a Pete Rose-style slide that unnecessarily put his health at risk. Unnecessary? Yes!! Anyone who has played baseball knows the risk of ‘dinging’ a finger or wrist from a head first slide. The argument that a feet first slide can equally create injury is absolutely false — especially if the player knows how to slide correctly. A head first slide makes for good pictures and the perception of hustling more. It’s akin to sliding into first base; there is no rational reason to do so but has become commonplace – a way of ‘self-expression’ that even coaches today seem reluctant to call-out as an irresponsible practice; it isn’t good, fundamental baseball. Instead, it is just another example of a professional athlete who is exceptionally skilled, but lacks discipline.
    Few would argue that Rizzo has assembled a terrifically talented team. Good luck, necessary to complement the talent seems beyond the Nats’ players ability to create. I am most concerned as our Nats need to make a push for the playoffs soon. Unfortunately (absent an Atlanta collapse), the good luck generation is at risk as some of the key players Rizzo assembled are unable to play/perform responsibly and make the right choices for the duration of a full 162 game season.

    • laddieblahblah - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:23 AM

      Excellent post. You should rant more often.

      Werth’s interview shows why he is a team leader. They still have Werth, ALR, Rendon and Desi in the heart of the order. That is a heckuva group of hitters most teams would love to have hitting for them. Lobaton has been a big, pleasant surprise, and so has Espinosa. I think McClouth will step up, given this opportunity.

      Fister will be back soon, with Ramos, RZ and, finally, Bryce coming back, later. This is, obviously, an important test for the team and its skipper. They have to look at it that way and respond, accordingly. Good teams do not despair when faced with adversity, they rise to the occasion.

      Basketball fans know that the Wiz lost Nene for game 4 with the Bulls. All they did was waltz to a big win over the Bulls without their big guy, and put themselves on the verge of the team’s first playoff series win in 8 years. Their coach made some needed adjustments, they shut down the Bulls and got numerous easy buckets for themselves.

      No reason why the Nats can’t still be very competitive. The recent adversities should concentrate their efforts at playing sound, fundamental baseball – pitching and defense, and productive hitting with RISP. They have the pitching staff to do it, and enough offense, enough experienced team leaders, and the right manager.

      That’s what I think. We’ll see.

    • Section 222 - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:33 AM

      I think you mean RZim, but I agree with your rant. It’s telling and sad that MW doesn’t feel he can criticize the head first slide.

  41. secretwasianman - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:03 AM

    It’s a R Zimm not J. J pitches. Nice rant though.

    • natsfansect117 - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      Thanks for correction…rookie (late evening / irresponsible) post on my part (LOL)…

      I’m unlikely to post often…but enjoy the thoughtful discussion and rabid Nats fans who do present regularly. Especially enjoy the posts that I don’t necessarily agree — you all often make me rethink and generate a better understanding. Thanks for your insights.

      What I want to add though is that I am so fortunate to have this team. As much as I did (and others) may nit-pick about what we think our team should do and how we think that our Nats should play — feel free to remind me (should I forget) that we have a very good, entertaining and competitive team to watch and follow. Go Nats!

  42. Joe Seamhead - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:22 AM

    Section 222 – Apr 28, 2014 at 10:53 PM
    I’m with you ArlVAF. Take on Me is a home grown tradition. Mickey Morse gave us the song, but we created the signature ending with the fans continuing to sing long after the walk up recording had ended. It was a great idea to make it our seventh inning stretch song. Why shouldn’t we continue the tradition and have something unique to DC and Nats Park other than the sub horn and Ben’s Chili Dogs?

    Every now and then you hear people saying it’s a jinx, or it’s responsible for the Nats’ problems. They are no better than the guy who thinks we lose because of certain uniforms that he doesn’t like. Seriously people?
    Seriously. Deuces?

    Joe Seamhead – Apr 28, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    Oh, jeesh, a little tongue in cheek, MrsB.

    Give me a break.It’s called, and was intended as, humor.

    On 2nd thought, suggesting a curse is responsible has as much credence as some of the sliding head first, guys are selfish for getting hurt,it’s all Matt William’s fault for his aggressive style, and a variety of other opinions expressed. Since the beginning of time ballplayers and baseball fans have believed in superstitions.

    I have refrained from posting on the slide issue. My feelings are that people get hurt playing baseball. If you’ve watched the game for a long time you’ve seen guys get hurt sliding into the bases both ways.I taught my son to slide feet first at a young age. He mastered the pop up slide and the art of knocking the ball out of the defender’s mitt with his cleats.It works better for some players. Some guys have great success going head first. Some successfully do both, depending on the situation.Almost every one that plays long enough gets dinged sliding, whichever way that they do it.

    Two years ago if Bryce Harper had slid in safely on that play, we all would have just been in awe of the kid’s approach to the game. Now if he gets nailed trying to stretch for that extra base he’s a moron, and if he gets hurt doing it he’s a head case.

    As to the song? When asked about the Nats still playing his walk up song after his departure Michael Morse was quoted as saying, “I think’s it’s weird.”

    I always liked Michael Morse…

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM

      I like “Take On Me” for the reasons Deuces articulated: it’s fun, it’s home-grown, and it fits. But the fact that he’s gone is the *whole point*.

      So needless to say, I’m odds and ends
      But I’ll be stumbling away
      Slowly learning that life is okay
      Say after me, it’s no better to be safe than sorry

      Take on me
      Take me on
      I’ll be gone
      In a day or two

  43. Joe Seamhead - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:30 AM

    As to Ryan Mattheus being recalled, I sure hope that he can regain his 2013 form, and that the knuckle on his head has improved. You want to talk moronic?

    • Joe Seamhead - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:33 AM

      oops, I meant that I hoped Mattheus could regain his 2012 form. 2013 was when that knuckle on his head popped up.

  44. Natsfool - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:09 AM

    Harper’s mistake was not choosing to slide head first, but attempting to take third given the score and situation. It’s not as bad as Zimm’s brain fart, but it is consistent with M Williams’ aggressive philosophy. Combine that with Williams’ “old school” mentality, and he does have to shoulder some blame. The whole lesson from last year was that someone needed to tone down Harper’s reckless play that resulted in him running into a wall. Instead, Williams sat him for lack of hustle and made a public spectacle of it. I can defend the former, but not the latter.

  45. rabbit433 - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:25 AM

    Gotta love those head-first slides! But, Harper is so injury prone he probably would have broken an ankle going in feet first, you remember, the real-slides.

  46. Natsfool - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    Keith Law has an article on the mishandling of Harper that I think hits the points. When is Nats Insider going to address this? Why did the organization treat Strasburg with kid gloves but feed Harper to the wolves? Both were injury prone. We had a championship in our sights in 2012. It may never come again with this core of players. Where is Rizzo in all of this?

    • Hiram Hover - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:44 AM

      When it comes to Matt Williams, KLaw is the subscription-only equivalent of a troll.

      • snerdblurter - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:27 AM

        +1. That Law article is a poor attempt at gaining page views. If you havent already, dont bother.

      • NatsLady - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        Not bothering (I have a subscription to ESPN) but it’s not worth the effort. Some knowlegable Nats fans read it and were taking him to task on Twitter, but of course he was “protecting his sources.”

      • Hiram Hover - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:39 AM


        Those voices in his head aren’t going to protect themselves, you know….

    • texnat1 - Apr 29, 2014 at 12:50 PM

      The Law article is one-sided, but it is worth noting. Mostly because it is quite likely that he is getting fed stuff from some inside source, potentially Harper’s agent.

      Second, although he is being cartoonishly unfair about, he isn’t all wrong. It does seem MW came here to pick a fight with Harper. That business about dropping him in the lineup before the year started to protect him from the pressure could easily have humiliated a young player like Harper, particularly given that he had just been voted the most overrated player in the game. It was needless and stupid.

      Also, although Harper has had some problems hustling to first, others have too. And I’m not sure why Harp gets publicly called out for it. I’m also not sure why veterans who can’t manage to focus well enough to avoid chronic errors are beyond reproach while a kid who does play the game hard 95 percent of the time becomes the whipping boy.

      Again, its easy to see why MW has done what he has (other than the batting lineup thing), but I can see where Law is coming from. And, more than that, I fear he is getting this from team Harper, which is a problem.

  47. dgourds - Apr 29, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    The good news is that once repaired, there shouldn’t be any lingering problems with his thumb playing ball. I had this exactly injury and surgery on my throwing hand. I was back playing ball in 6 weeks–full strength. He’ll be back by July. In the meantime, McLouth will kick some a$$! And I agree, Souza will show his stuff too. It’s all good.





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