Nationals place Bryce Harper on disabled list with knee injury

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UPDATE: It’s official. The Nationals placed Bryce Harper on the 15-day disabled list and called up Erik Davis from Triple-A.

11:25 PM: The Nationals resisted putting Bryce Harper on the disabled list after he crashed into the outfield wall at Dodger Stadium on May 13, but now they have little choice.

Harper missed his fifth straight game last night due to bursitis in his left knee and is “likely” to be placed on the disabled list, a source tells Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. The Nationals are expected to call up right-hander Erik Davis in a corresponding roster move.

Harper hasn’t played since he left last Sunday’s game. The 20-year-old outfielder was still hobbling after a workout Thursday and was expected to sit out this weekend’s series against the first-place Braves. Some extended rest sounds like the right idea, but the Nationals could have him back by June 11 if all goes well.

This is a tough time for the underachieving Nationals, as Stephen Strasburg left last night’s start with a strained right oblique and could also be looking at a trip to the disabled list. Davey Johnson’s club will enter play today at 28-27 on the year.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.