VIERA, Fla. - When he woke up this morning, Bryce Harper felt some tightness in his left calf.
He tried to work it out on a stationary bike at the Nationals complex, but when the calf didn’t respond, manager Davey Johnson decided to pull Harper from today’s starting lineup against the Astros.
Speaking in the Nationals’ clubhouse moments ago, Harper said he doesn’t think the injury is anything serious, and he expects to return in a matter of days.
“It’s just precautionary,” Harper said. “Trying to get back in there tomorrow or the next day.
“It’s spring training. I’m just trying to be as careful as I can. (Better) two days or three days down here than five during the season.”
Harper, who sat out yesterday’s game against the Cardinals after playing in the Nats’ first five games of spring, said he’s never had any issues with calf injuries in the past.
“I’ve never felt it before, and that was the weird thing,” Harper said. “I felt it this morning, and I was just like, ‘What’s going on right here?’ Didn’t feel it when I swung at all. Only time I felt it was getting reads in the outfield.”
The Nationals’ top prospect is off to a nice start at the plate this spring, hitting .455 in 11 at-bats.
Update: The Nationals finished off the Astros, earning an 8-0 win.
Lefty Ross Detwiler threw three perfect innings in relief of Edwin Jackson, striking out three, and the Nats added to an early 2-0 lead by tacking on two runs in the fifth inning, three in the sixth, and one in the seventh.
Henry Rodriguez got the Astros 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth to close out the win. It was the first spring appearance for the power righty.
Back with more in a few.
Dan Kolko was named MASNsports.com’s Nationals beat writer after spending the last four years covering the Baltimore Ravens for MASN and also serving as the Web site’s deputy managing editor. A University of Delaware graduate originally from Silver Spring, Md., Dan grew up a die-hard baseball fan and is thrilled for the opportunity to cover the Nationals. Before joining MASN, Dan worked in production at Comcast SportsNet in Bethesda, Md., and also interned at the “George Michael Sports Machine” in Washington, D.C.
Follow Dan Kolko on Twitter: @DanKolko