On Sunday, Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was in Washington D.C. while the team was in Miami taking on the Miami Marlins to get tests done his injured hip. The tests results showed that he simply has inflammation and he will be sidelined for the next two days.
Letting him rest and forcing him to not step onto the field is a good thing. It bodes well for the present and the future. Harper’s all-out playing style won’t benefit him any if he’s doing it on an injured hip, and he’ll only make the injury worse. Harper didn’t even injure his hip during a game. He was taking batting practice before Friday’s game against the Marlins.
More alarming than the injury itself is that this has been going on for a while, but he never told anybody. Harper told reporters last week that there’s been something different bothering him every day since he smashed into the outfield walls in Atlanta and Los Angeles back in April. After his collision in Los Angeles, he was sidelined for five weeks.
Hopefully for the Nationals, Harper’s hip inflammation is the extent of it. With a little tender-loving-care on the bench, he’ll be able to recover like nothing ever happened. Still, the fact that Harper knew something was wrong and didn’t tell anybody is scary. He could have been severely hurt and, in a worst-case scenario, could have put his career in jeopardy. While playing through the pain is admirable, you have to know when enough is enough.
If it were up to me (and I know it isn’t), I’d sit Harper for the remainder of the season. With 20 games remaining, the Nationals find themselves eight games back of the Cincinnati Reds for the NL Wild Card spot and they still have the toughest part of their September schedule to play. While nobody wants to give up on them, the Nationals should start thinking about the future. The 2013 playoffs are all but gone at this point.
In Harper’s absence, we’ll get to see Tyler Moore in the outfield and Corey Brown could make a substitute appearance like he did yesterday. Combined, Moore and Brown went 0-for-5 with four strike outs yesterday, but they got valuable plate experience.
Bryce Harper doesn’t need these next 20 games. The Nationals should sit him the rest of the season and protect him like they did Stephen Strasburg. Telling Harper to take it easy out there simply won’t do. He’s got one gear, full speed, and that’s the only gear that he’s going to use.
The Nationals should think long-term in how they handle this situation. If Bryce Harper were to go back out there and severely re-injure his hip, it could potentially be devastating for next season and for the young player’s career in general. He is the face of the franchise and GM Mike Rizzo‘s prized investment. They should protect him like it and not let him play at all for the rest of the season.