Multiple reports have confirmed that Bryce Harper’s trip to the hand specialist Monday confirmed everyone’s worst fears: Harper has a torn ligament in his left thumb and will require surgery that will keep him out until July.
Harper injured his thumb Friday night sliding head-first into third base on a three-run triple against the San Diego Padres. Once the injury heals, he’ll need time to build the strength back in his hand/wrist area and his power production could be affected all season, even after he’s pronounced “healthy”.
With Harper out for an extended period of time, the team will first turn to Mate McLouth in left field. McLouth is a veteran outfielder but hardly the player Harper is. McLouth is off to a very slow start for the Nats this season and if his production does not catch up quickly, the team could turn to rookie Steven Souza, Jr. or pursue other options. Kevin Frandsen will also see time in a platoon with McLouth.
This is the second season in a row for the young Harper that he will miss significant time. Last year, his knee injury robbed him of about six weeks of service time.
Harper joins Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos and Doug Fister as players the Nats were counting on this year to already miss significant time in the field due to injury.