Harper looks good to start Sunday despite swollen ankle

Shortstop Ian Desmond is “iffy” for Sunday, but manager Davey Johnson believes Bryce Harper will be able to play in Sunday’s crucial finale against the Braves.

Harper left the first game Saturday with a swollen ankle and he showed how bad it was to reporters after Game 2.

“It feels all right,” Harper said. “Once I get going, it feels good. When I sit down, it feels bad. Once I get warmed up to things, I am fine and that is all that matters.”

Harper was called upon to pinch hit in the nightcap and delivered a dramatic lift to the team. After hitting a clean single to left, Harper stole second base. Danny Espinosa delivered a single in the next at-bat, and Harper raced home to give the Nationals a 4-2 lead.

Harper received a big ovation from the 40,047 for that pinch at-bat, and he said that actually pumped him up as he approached the plate. He said he really didn’t feel the pain in his ankle during the plate appearance.

“Not really,” Harper said. “I kind of did, but I didn’t. I think the crowd helped out with that. I think you are still going to feel it, but you got to work through it and play through it. That is all you can do.

“It takes a lot to take me out of the game. There was nothing on the X-rays. I wanted to play the second game, but they said, ‘Take a rest.’ ”

Harper starting Sunday?

Expect it.

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