Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has been held out of the lineup for Monday night’s game against the Diamondbacks as he’s still dealing with discomfort in his left thumb. Harper slid awkwardly into third base on a triple hit on Sunday afternoon because Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang faked a tag. Harper suffered the thumb injury as a result, and the Nationals retaliated as A.J. Cole threw a fastball behind Kang in the ensuing inning, causing both benches and bullpens to spill out onto the field.
Harper underwent X-rays on Monday. Per Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post, GM Mike Rizzo said of Harper’s thumb injury, “We’re anticipating that it’s not going to be serious.”
Though the Nationals have already clinched the NL East, the club is still fighting for something of importance: home field advantage in the NL Division Series against the Dodgers. The Nationals currently hold a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for that privilege. Losing Harper, even just for a game, could turn out to be a big deal.
Harper, 23, heads into the final week of the regular season batting .244/.375/.444 with 24 home runs, 85 RBI, 83 runs scored, and 21 stolen bases in 614 plate appearances.