Jordan Zimmermann pitched another gem, Ian Desmond homered, and the Washington Nationals got off the schneid against the Atlanta Braves with a 2-0 win at Turner Field, but the big news out of the game was that Bryce Harper was removed in the sixth inning after aggravating his left side injury, sustained Tuesday night against the Braves when he slammed into the wall in right field while trying to pull Tim Hudson’s home run back into the park.
Harper checked his swing against Braves starter Paul Maholm on a 0-1 curveball. Harper winced in pain, bend over at the waist to catch his breath, and got back in the box. On the next pitch, he laced a ground ball to Freddie Freeman, who retired Harper easily as Harper barely made it out of the box in the direction of first base. Harper did not take the field in the bottom of the inning after being examined by Nats trainers.
After the game, Harper told the press that he didn’t think he pulled anything, but is dealing with residual soreness from slamming into the wall, which left a nasty bruise.
“If I can play tomorrow, I’m gonna play,” Harper said. “If they put me in the lineup, I’m gonna play. I can play with pain and I can tolerate pain, so
hopefully there’s nothing that can keep me out of that lineup tomorrow.”
The Nats are already missing Ryan Zimmerman (hamstring), who played for Single-A Potomac Wednesday night in a rehab assignment and should be activated for Friday’s game, and Jayson Werth, who is dealing with hamstring and ankle injuries.