Washington Nationals Lose Key Piece as Bryce Harper Will Not Play Tonight

By James Williams
Howard Smith – USA Today Sports

The Washington Nationals  will sit Bryce Harper tonight as they close out their three game road series with the Philadelphia Phillies. The 20 year old Harper has been playing with both an injured hip and knee, so manager Davey Johnson made the choice to give him a night off tonight.

After last night’s game in Philadelphia,  Johnson noticed that training assistant John Hsu was giving treatment to Harper’s hip. After talking with the team’s medical staff the skipper thought that giving his young superstar a day off might just help him.

At his postgame press conference last night Johnson addressed Harper’s problems saying:

“I think players sometimes don’t want the manager to know they are getting treatment. But I need that. It’s part of the information I could use to ensure that they can get through the year injury free. They might be able to play with that injury, but it might be better to take a day off and let somebody else [play].”

Earlier this week Harper disclosed that he was getting treatment on both his knee and his hip. It was also learned that Johnson had no idea that Harper was being treated.

Harper did not have  any issues with the hip on last night, going 0-for-5 and scoring two runs. Johnson feels that giving him tonight off and then the team has a scheduled day off on Thursday will help Harper be fresh for the weekend series on the road against the Miami Marlins.  

His place in the lineup tonight has yet to be filled, but the September call ups of Corey Brown, Jeff Kobernus and Eury Perez do indeed give Johnson a number of options. Brown did hit a home run in last night’s 9-6 Nationals win. There is also the possibility that Tyler Moore might get the start but Johnson has three good outfielders to choose from.

In getting back to Harper, as I reported last week he had been to Florida to seek the help of famed sports physician, Dr. James Andrews, who of course is the man who rebuilt the knee of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III. I fully expect that Harper will see Dr. Andrews soon after the season ends. While, it does not look like his injuries are near as bad as RG III’s it never hurts to have the best in the business looking at Harper’s hip and knee.  

Rant Sports columnist James Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award winning, producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @Wordmandc and be part of his Google+ group.

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