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Nationals place Bryce Harper on 10-day disabled list with a bone bruise

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The Nationals placed right fielder Bryce Harper on the 10-day disabled list with a “significant bone bruise” in his left knee, the team announced Sunday. Harper sustained the injury in the first inning of Saturday’s series opener against the Giants after slipping on first base and hyperextending his left knee. Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters that he doesn’t believe the injury is season-ending, but doesn’t have a clear timetable in mind for Harper’s recovery just yet.

While Harper’s loss is a blow to the Nationals’ lineup, it’s certainly not the worst-case scenario for their star hitter. An MRI failed to reveal any tendon or ligament damage, and it doesn’t look like the injury will have an adverse effect on the outfielder’s 2018 campaign with the club. Fellow outfielder Michael Taylor (right oblique strain) was activated from the 10-day disabled list in a corresponding move and will assume Harper’s spot on the active roster for the time being. Assuming Harper doesn’t hit any snags in the rehab process, he could be looking at a return to the field sometime in mid- to late September.

Harper, 24, left Saturday’s game with a .326/.419/.614 batting line, 29 home runs and a 1.034 OPS through 472 PA in 2017. This is his first stint on the disabled list since 2014.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.