Bryce Harper was spotted with a big brace on his troublesome left knee Tuesday morning in the Atlanta airport, on his way back from a visit to the office of one Dr. James Andrews. Which led many to speculate that Harper might have undergone some sort of knee procedure. But that’s not the case.
Nationals trainer Lee Kuntz clarified Tuesday to James Wagner of the Washington Post that the brace was part of a program of rest and that Harper was found to have no structural damage in his left knee during his time at Andrews’ facilities. Harper was given platelet-rich plasma treatment and a cortisone shot to help with his patellar bursitis.
“These are all good things,” Kuntz told the Post. “We want him to rest the knee, that’s why we put him in the immobilizer. We’ll reevaluate him in one week’s time and if everything’s a go then we will resume activity with him and get him going as quickly as we can. … We’ll see how it responds and we’ll go from there.”
Harper was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 1, retroactive to May 27. He was eligible to return for Tuesday’s series opener in Colorado but is obviously going to need at least another 10 days.
Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg lasted only two innings in Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks. The right-hander reportedly had trouble getting loose and it showed: he yielded a hit and three walks to the 10 batters he faced. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Strasburg had “some nerve impingement that has been alleviated.”
Manager Dusty Baker expects Strasburg to make his next scheduled start on Saturday at home against the Rockies, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Strasburg was examined by doctors, who deemed him to be in good shape — enough to not warrant undergoing an MRI.
Through 20 starts, Strasburg owns a 3.25 ERA with a 141/37 K/BB ratio across 121 2/3 innings. Though the injury scare isn’t what the Nationals hoped for, he’s done well in the first year of his seven-year, $175 million contract extension.
Cubs starter John Lackey didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday afternoon at Wrigley Field against the White Sox. The right-hander hit four White Sox batters over the course of five innings. He yielded just two runs, though, on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. He left with a 4-2 lead.
Lackey hit Jose Abreu with one out in the first inning, then hit Abreu again in the fifth. He then hit Matt Davidson and Yoan Moncada shortly thereafter. Chris Beck relieved Carlos Rodon for the White Sox in the bottom of the fifth and promptly hit Ian Happ with a fastball to lead off the frame. Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale issued warnings to both benches and the beanings stopped.
So, how often do pitchers hit four batters in a game? Not that often! The last to do it was the Reds’ Josh Smith on July 4, 2015 against the Brewers. Before that, it was the Nationals’ Livan Hernandez on July 20, 2005 against the Rockies. Lackey is only the ninth pitcher to hit four batters in a game since 2000 and the 26th since 1913. The only other Cubs pitcher to do it besides Lackey was Moe Drabowsky in 1957.