VIERA, Fla. - Bryce Harper will not be in right field for the second straight game when the Nationals take on the Mets today. The 22-year-old has been dealing with a stomach virus according to manager Matt Williams.
“He was really feeling bad yesterday and then today he’s still not feeling well,” said Williams. “He did a little bit of light swinging in the cage. He’s still not feeling good so we sent him home today. He could be OK to go tomorrow. We wanted to get him out of here and not get anybody else sick at this point. He’s just sick to his stomach. It’s one of those rites of spring that everybody goes through at some point or the other of spring training. He’s just happened to have it the last couple days but he’s good.”
With just 11 days remaining until opening day, it seems to be increasingly likely that left fielder Jayson Werth won’t be available for the start of the season.
“You do run out of time though, so there’s question,” said Williams. “The fact that he hasn’t had regular at-bats in a spring training game yet makes me question it but we’ll see.”
Werth has yet to hit in a game this spring. He has appeared in three minor league games in the outfield but not at the plate. Werth is still dealing with discomfort in his surgically repaired right shoulder during certain swings.
“He’ll swing again in the cage and then be graduated from the tee to soft toss and we’ll get him into full BP with his regular bat,” said Williams. “Once he can do that then we can start getting into games, but to give you a date is probably not prudent at this point.”
Williams didn’t have much to report on third baseman Anthony Rendon who’s sprained left MCL required a second MRI exam on Tuesday.
“(Rendon’s) progressing,” said Williams. “Better today than he was yesterday so that’s going to be the standard answer as we go forward until he can get back to baseball activity.”
Danny Espinosa makes his third start ever at third base today. Williams said he’s already comfortable with Espinosa at third despite his inexperience at the position.
“We would love to have everybody for opening day, but that’s not going to happen,” said Williams. “So there’s no reason not to push guys as far as we can push them to get them prepared. So there wouldn’t be any reason to say we’re not going to get them back healthy as quickly as we can.”