Johnson plans to give Harper rest of the weekend off

Since homering in dramatic fashion in his first at-bat off the disabled list, Bryce Harper has gone 0-for-18 with three walks and an RBI. Defensively, he’s dropped two fly balls in the five games that he’s been back in the Nationals lineup since returning from left knee bursitis.

With Harper perhaps not 100 percent healthy and perhaps pressing from a mental standpoint, manager Davey Johnson says he’s going to give his young outfielder the rest of the weekend off.

“I think he’s just fighting himself,” Johnson said after tonight’s 8-5 win.

Is this slide due to the physical aspect of things or the mental side?

“I think probably both,” Johnson said. “He’s just grinding too hard. ... He’s just ... coming back from the long layout, I think hadn’t had much break when he came back. I just need to back off him a little bit.

“He expects a lot of himself, and I think coming back from that layoff, he’s just not as relaxed as you’d like to see him. So he’s probably not 100 percent physically, either. But this’ll be a good time before we go on the road trip.”

We’ll see whether Johnson is actually able to keep Harper out of action through the weekend. Harper has talked his way back into the lineup before, and he walked toward Johnson’s office after showering and getting dressed after today’s game.

While Johnson says he’ll sit the 20-year-old for the next two days, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Harper back in there at some point in this series.

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