LOS ANGELES — Bryce Harper popped out of the Washington Nationals’ dugout moments after Danny Espinosa singled to open the ninth inning Wednesday night, and began to loosen up in the on-deck circle.
It was the first time Harper had appeared on the field during a game since his nasty collision Monday night with the right field wall at Dodger Stadium.
His chin, which required 11 stitches, was heavily bandaged. He did not talk his way into the game, he said. Manager Davey Johnson just tabbed him to try and give the Nationals a late-game boost.
Harper chopped a ground ball to first base, moving Espinosa to third base with the second out of the inning, and after the game he admitted he is still suffering from the effects of the collision — particularly with pain and soreness on the left side of his abdomen.
Asked how he was feeling, Harper was succinct.
“Terrible,” he said.
Johnson said Harper “should be all right (Thursday)” when the Nationals open a four-game series in San Diego. Harper was somewhat less sure, saying only “We’ll see.”
The soreness in his shoulder and his knee has subsided some, and the bandage was simply placed on to protect the stitches in his chin from being contacted when he swung.
But Harper said none of his ailments hindered him in the batter’s box.
“(Dodgers closer Brandon League) is a pitcher,” Harper said. “Got me with a split-finger. I was trying to get something up in the zone. Didn’t get one.”
The majority of Harper’s pain is on the left side, which is the same side that he already had bruised ribs on from crashing into the right field wall in Atlanta two weeks ago trying to rob a home run.