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Nationals notes: Harper’s thumb issue doesn’t keep him from getting on base
JUPITER, Fla. — Bryce Harper reached base for the 10th consecutive plate appearance Tuesday afternoon, walking in his third at-bat after getting hits in his previous nine, to bring his spring training batting average to .476.
“I might have to give him a couple days off, I don’t know. Usually those are just kind of nagging injuries. If it gets real bad you give him a little cortisone in there and that quiets it down, but I don’t know if it’s that bad.”
Harper originally got jammed on a hard base hit to right field Friday. Johnson held him out of Saturday’s game and Harper, who tried hitting with a rubber guard on his thumb during batting practice Sunday but chose not to use it in the game, seemed unconcerned about the issue.
“If it does hurt, I’m going to play anyway,” he said Sunday. “So it’s all good.”
Johnson said he wasn’t opposed to giving Harper some rest during the final three games of the exhibition season, but he also didn’t want to sit his starting left fielder for five straight days and then tell him to suit up for Opening Day.
Harper was jammed again Tuesday in his second at-bat, in which he singled to right field off Henderson Alvarez. Johnson told him he’d take him out after that at-bat, but Harper asked for at least three at-bats. He walked in his final plate appearance.
“If you get jammed enough, there’s inflammation in your thumb area from the trauma,” Johnson said, referencing his experiences with the issue as a player. “Rest does help it, I know. But the last couple days it hasn’t been swollen. Today it was swollen.”
“I figured it was something like that,” he said.
Haren turns eyes to season
Dan Haren pitched six innings Tuesday against the Miami Marlins, and the right-hander won’t start another game until Friday, April 5, in Cincinnati. The fact that there will be nine days between his last spring start and his first of the season did not concern the right-hander, as long as he’s done with his Grapefruit League stint.
“When you first get out there in spring training, the adrenaline and everything is there,” Haren said. “And then it just gets lower and lower. It comes to a point where you just want to get your pitch count up and get out of there healthy.”
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About the Author
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
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