Bryce Harper dove for a triple off the bat of David Wright Thursday afternoon and missed. He got up, appearing to have knocked the wind out of himself, and then knelt on the outfield grass momentarily. Visited by a trainer, Harper stayed in.
Harper has played in all 35 games since he was called up to the major leagues on April 28 but after his spill Thursday manager Davey Johnson revealed Harper has been dealing with a sore back. And for the first time since he became a major leaguer, Harper might sit when the Nationals arrive in Boston on Friday.
Not necessary, Harper said.
“I’m good,” Harper said. “I’m totally fine to play. I won’t be out of the lineup.”
Harper did allow that the wind was knocked out of him somewhat when he dove and he was “just trying to take a minute” after the play.
Johnson saw it a bit differently.
“When he dove for the ball, I thought he just knocked the wind out of himself,” Johnson said. “That predominantly was the case. He’s also been nursing a tender back. He’s been getting treatment on his back and any time you dive and your feet go behind you and go up, it’s not what the back’s cut out for.”
Asked if Johnson was concerned enough to anticipate that Harper wouldn’t be in the lineup on Friday, Johnson said “He might not. We’ll see how he is on the trip.”
Harper laughed off that suggestion, as well as any question that his back was seriously hurt.
“I didn’t hurt it,” he said. “I’m good. Don’t worry about it. I feel great.”