The Washington Times - June 1, 2013, 10:06AM

ATLANTA — After sitting out five straight games with bursitis in his left knee, Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was placed on the disabled list Saturday afternoon.

The Nationals called up right-hander Erik Davis late Friday night and the reliever joined them before Saturday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves. 

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The Nationals had strongly hoped that they would be able to avoid putting their superstar 20-year-old on the DL, but the swelling and inflammation caused by the bursitis in his knee was not improving as quickly as they’d expected.

The issue is believed to stem from Harper’s violent collision with the right field wall at Dodger Stadium on May 13. After the initial collision, Harper missed two games, pinch hitting in the second. Then he played in two games and sat out another two. He played in the next six games, but then was forced out of the last five as his knee continued to cause him significant pain. Harper will be eligible to return from the DL on June 11.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Harper limped off of the team’s plane on Thursday night after hitting and running before their loss to the Orioles and the flight to Atlanta. But the hope was that they could allow him until the end of the weekend to see where his progress was.

With right fielder Jayson Werth possibly returning by Tuesday, the Nationals were looking to get their Opening Day outfield back together for the first time in a month.

It now appears that will have to wait a bit longer.

Davis, an impressive story in perseverance, had a 3.00 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 24 innings for Triple-A Sryacuse this season. The 26-year-old Stanford product was hit in the face with a line drive while pitching in the Cape Cod League in 2006 and was back on a mound as soon as possible after two operations, including the insertion of titanium plates to replace some of those broken in his face. 

The Nationals acquired him from the San Diego Padres in the 2011 trade for Alberto Gonzalez and he’s had great success for them since being converted to a reliever. Davis greatly impressed during his stint in the Dominican Winter League, which earned him a spot on the team’s 40-man roster.