Harper “likely” headed to DL, Davis coming up (roster move official)

ATLANTA - The list of Nationals players on the disabled list will probably be growing shortly, as Bryce Harper is “likely” heading to the DL with bursitis in his left knee, a team source confirmed.

The Nationals will be bringing up right-handed reliever Erik Davis from Triple-A Syracuse to fill Harper’s spot on the active roster and provide support to a bullpen that will likely be without Craig Stammen and Tyler Clippard today after those two had heavy workloads last night.

Harper has been battling issues with his left knee since his collision with the wall in Dodger Stadium, and while he has twice tried to return to action, he’s re-aggravated the injury and created swelling and fluid buildup in the bursa sac around the knee.

The 20-year-old outfielder sat out the Nats’ last five games, but his condition hasn’t improved enough to the point that he’d be able to return to the lineup anytime in the near future.

The Nationals hope an extended period of rest will do the trick and allow the swelling in the knee to subside. The team can backdate Harper’s DL stint to May 27, allowing him to return as early as June 11.

“He’s a tough guy and he would play if at all possible,” manager Davey Johnson said yesterday. “But he’s too good a talent to take a chance on further injury, so he’s not going out there ‘til it’s better. That’s for dang sure.”

Update: The roster move is official. Harper lands on the DL retroactive to May 27 with left knee bursitis and Davis has been recalled from Syracuse.

Davis will wear No. 51.

This is the first time Harper has seen the disabled list in his big league career. He injured the knee back on May 13 at Los Angeles, sat out the next day and then returned as a pinch-hitter on the 15th in the series finale.

He returned to the starting lineup on the 16th, playing two straight days, then missed the final two games of the Nats’ series against the Padres when the knee started acting up. Harper was back in the lineup May 20 against the Giants and played six straight games before the swelling got bad enough that he was forced from the game this last Sunday in the seventh inning.

Harper badly wanted to continue to keep playing through the injury, and the Nats badly need his bat in the lineup. But this 20-day stretch in between the wall collision and the Nats officially placing Harper on the DL hasn’t been ideal.

Another reported roster move within the organization has been made official, as well. Anthony Rendon has been bumped up from Double-A Harrisburg to Triple-A Syracuse today.

Rendon will likely see a good bit of time at second base at Syracuse, opening up the possibility that he joins the Nats as their new second baseman sometime this season.

The Patriot-News first reported Rendon was moving up to Syracuse.

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