VIERA, Fla. - Bryce Harper has been diagnosed with a "medium" sprain of his left ankle, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Tuesday morning, but it is unknown if the injury will prevent the top pick in last June's draft from playing in Single-A Hagerstown's April 7 season opener in Rome, Ga.
"It's not a mild sprain - it's called a medium sprain," Rizzo said. "Everything checked out fine. He's day to day."
Harper was playing in a minor league intrasquad game Monday at the Nationals' spring training complex when he turned his ankle as he crossed first base running out a single. He went down, was carted off the field and treated by team medical personnel.
Rizzo said Harper would undergo ice and stretching treatments for the injury. The general manager said Harper's ankle sprain was similar to the one sustained by center fielder Corey Brown in the Nats' first Grapefruit League game of the spring Feb. 28. Brown hurt himself sliding into home plate and did not play in another game and was cut March 17.
Because ankle injuries are sometimes slow to heal, Rizzo couldn't say whether the 18-year-old Harper will be ready to play when the Suns open their South Atlantic League season in Rome, Ga. Hagerstown's first home game is scheduled for April 15.
"Right now, we don't (know). We'll know more today when we see him and see how he responded to the first day (of treatment)," Rizzo said.
Harper, who was optioned to the minors March 12 despite hitting .389 in his first major league spring camp, used his Twitter account to post an update Monday night.
"Everybody thank you for all the kind words and thoughts about me getting better! I feel good and I expect to be out there asap!" he tweeted.