SAN FRANCISCO — Bryce Harper returned to the Washington Nationals’ lineup on Monday night after missing the previous two games with bruising and swelling in his left knee.
One week removed from his collision with the wall at Dodger Stadium, Harper tested the knee in the outfield at AT&T Park on Monday and told manager Davey Johnson that he could play, so he was slotted in there.
“It’s not something you like doing, running into a wall 100 miles an hour,” Harper said. “I feel something this day, something that day. Just trying to keep up on my knee, and we’ll see what happens.”
Harper said the most pain comes when sliding, and while he didn’t come right out and say he’d avoid doing it, he intimated that it could be costly for him if he did.
“Slides probably hurt the worst,” he said. “And if I bang it up, we’re back to square one. So hopefully I don’t so that.”
– Harper was also personally affected by the devastating tornado that tore through Moore, Oklahoma on Monday. When Harper was becoming a high school sensation, he played on a travel team in West Moore, Oklahoma, just miles from where the mile-wide category F4 tornado hit.
He tweeted his support to those affected earlier in the afternoon on Monday, writing “Prayers go out to all my friends and family in Oklahoma! May God be with you in these horrible times! Love you all! Be safe! #PrayForOK”
He said he had gotten in touch with most of the people he knew in the area but his thoughts remained with everyone dealing with the devastation.