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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.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.