The Washington Times - August 19, 2011, 09:58AM

Nationals top prospect Bryce Harper went down in the middle of the basepaths Thursday night, coming up with an apparent leg injury and had to be helped off the field in Akron, OH. Harper was diagnosed with a right hamstring strain and will be re-evaluated on Friday.

With a little more than two weeks left in the regular Double-A season, it would not be inconceivable (and may even be the best course of action) for the Nationals to shut Harper down for the year, let him heal and get back to full health with an eye toward 2012. This is easily the longest season in Harper’s life and the Nationals were very cautious with a thumb injury earlier this season that kept him out of much of the Single-A All-Star festivities and several games around that time as well.

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In 37 games at Double-A, Harper is hitting .256 with three homers, and 12 RBI. He has a .329 on-base percentage and .395 slugging. His totals for his entire minor league season are: .297 AVG, 17 HR, 58 RBI, .392 OBP, .501 SLG, .894 OPS.

– Nationals right-hander Ryan Mattheus’ night began with a huge strikeout and ended with confusion. After Mattheus came on in relief of Jordan Zimmermann and struck out Paul Janish to end the inning with runners at first and third in the sixth, he was stretching in the dugout and word got back to pitching coach Steve McCatty and manager Davey Johnson that he’d felt “tightness” in his shoulder.

While Mattheus was throwing his warmup pitched for the seventh inning, they asked him about said “tightness” and Mattheus, while downplaying it, couldn’t convince them he could pitch another inning.

Mattheus insisted to reporters after the game that it was nothing to be concerned about. Officially, he was listed as day-to-day with right shoulder tightness.