MIAMI — Hit with some sort of a stomach ailment, Bryce Harper spent the better of Tuesday trying to keep food down. He did more of the same on Wednesday, taking intravenous fluids before the Nationals’ 6-1 victory over the Marlins to help hydrate his body weakened by a lack of nutrients.
During the second inning, he said, he vomited. Swinging at the plate made his head spin. On the basepaths, he hunched over several times.
Harper was 4-for-5 Wednesday night with a double and three singles, including an infield one he beat out.
“I thought he was going to die every time he went up there, and he got a hit,” said manager Davey Johnson, who held Harper and Denard Span out of Tuesday’s game with similar stomach issues, but put Harper back in the lineup on Wednesday. “After three hits, you think he’s feeling great. But he didn’t have a smile on his face the whole game.”
“It was pretty bad,” Harper said. “Physically, I didn’t feel very good at all… I tried to have some good ABs and put the bat on the ball.”
Harper, who is now hitting .364 this season, said he did not want to miss a second game with illness, so he played, despite the way he felt.
“I wanted to play,” he said. “My team needed me out there today and I think I could have helped the team win today by going out there and trying to have good ABs and play left field. I don’t really care if I was sick or not, I was going to go out there and play.”
Things got the worst, Harper said, after he worked a seven-pitch at-bat against Ricky Nolasco and then laced a double into the right field corner. Nolasco, who once seemed to frustrate Harper greatly in his rookie season, has been one of his prime targets early this year. In Harper’s brief career, he’s hitting .450 off Nolasco in 20 at-bats.
The double hurt Nolasco, but Harper said it wasn’t the greatest for him, either.
“That really got me,” he said. “Every AB I didn’t feel very good at all. The whole game I was struggling a little bit… The biggest thing was trying to keep everything down and fluids down. I think getting in the box and swinging made my head spin a little bit.
“It was just a matter of trying to have good ABs and trying to get some knocks and trying to help the team out.”
The Nationals have an off-day on Thursday in New York so the hope is that Harper, and Span for that matter, will be able to full kick whatever it is that’s been plaguing them since early Tuesday morning.
Before he left to join his teammates on their flight north, Harper was asked if he knew how much, if any, weight he’d lost during the last few days.
“No clue,” he said. Then he smiled.
“Feel solid as a rock.”