That left calf strain that has kept outfielder Bryce Harper out of the lineup for the past two days will probably force him to miss the rest of the weekend’s spring training games.
Though Harper expressed earlier today to reporters in Viera, Fla., that he expected to play in a split-squad game against the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla., on Saturday, Nationals manager Davey Johnson pretty much nixed those plans during his pregame meeting with reporters in Jupiter, Fla., before tonight’s game against the Marlins.
“I haven’t talked to (Harper) on when I plan on playing him. I’ll see what he does and talk to the trainers, but I’m sure it’s probably at least three days,” Johnson said. “So he’s had one, so probably tomorrow and the next day. We’ll see how it goes.”
Harper had wanted to run today, but didn’t. The Nationals didn’t want him to push what first was diagnosed as left calf tightness when it caused him to be scratched from the starting lineup Thursday against the Astros.
The 19-year-old, who is battling for a spot on the Nats’ 25-man roster, did take batting practice this morning at Space Coast Stadium, and Johnson doesn’t think that his brief absence from Grapefruit League games will negatively impact his chances of making the club out of spring training.
“Not really,” Johnson said. “He’s not going to cut down on his swing in those three days. He’s going to keep hacking. It’s just like everybody else. I don’t want to run him out there. He might get hurt worse.”
In other injury news, Johnson said first baseman Adam LaRoche would make his Grapefruit League debut Saturday when a Nationals split squad hosts the Mets. LaRoche, who was battling left shoulder soreness and a mildly sprained left ankle, will play first base and hit cleanup.
Outfielder Michael Morse, who was scratched from Tuesday’s game with a right lat strain, ran in the outfield today, and is progressing, Johnson said. But he’s not in either of the split-squad lineups for Saturday’s games posted earlier today in the Nationals’ clubhouse.
Here’s tonight’s lineup for the game against the Marlins:
SS - Ian Desmond
2B - Steve Lombardozzi
LF - Jason Michaels
1B - Tyler Moore
3B - Anthony Rendon
C - Jesus Flores
DH - Rick Ankiel
RF - Brett Carroll
CF- Roger Bernadina
P - Stephen Strasburg
Tonight’s game marks the first time Strasburg has started a Grapefruit League game somewhere other than Space Coast Stadium.