There was some thought last week that Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper may have to be shut down for the rest of the season due to lingering discomfort in his left hip. But an MRI taken Sunday showed only inflammation and Harper is back in the starting lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Mets.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes that Harper put on a show in batting practice on Tuesday afternoon, spraying line drives and launching a few balls into the upper deck at Citi Field in New York. The 20-year-old phenom has also been able to take normal outfield practice without any major issues and believes he can play through the pain that remains down the stretch.
The Nationals have won four straight games but are still 6 1/2 games back of a Wild Card spot.
Harper is hitting .273/.377/.504 with 19 home runs and 49 RBI in 102 games played this season.
Nationals right-hander Jeremy Hellickson has been assigned to the 10-day disabled list after spraining his right wrist during a 4-2 loss to the Cardinals on Wednesday. The assignment is retroactive to August 15, though it’s not yet certain that Hellickson will be able to resume his role in the rotation after the minimum 10 days.
The 31-year-old righty was through 4 1/3 innings during Wednesday’s start when he threw a wild pitch behind the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina in the bottom of the fifth. He sprinted to cover home plate just as Harrison Bader took off from third base, and the two collided at the plate as Spencer Kieboom‘s throw home sailed over Hellickson’s head. He tumbled to the ground and rolled over his right wrist, then was forced to make a prompt exit from the field after feeling considerable soreness in his right hand.
While the X-rays returned negative, it makes sense for the Nationals to shelve Hellickson for the time being. In a best case scenario, he should miss only one turn through the rotation, provided that he’s able to work back up to full strength in the next week or so. The veteran righty is 5-3 in 18 starts this year with a 3.57 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 across 88 1/3 innings. This will be his second official stint on the DL after missing nearly a month due to a right hamstring strain back in June.
In a corresponding move, fellow right-hander Jefry Rodriguez was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse and will fill in for Hellickson during Saturday’s set against the Marlins. Rodriguez, 25, has yet to get comfortable on the major league stage: entering Saturday, the rookie owns a 5.84 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 through 24 2/3 innings.