Cleat Geeks

District Dugout: The Nationals Dodge A Bullet With Harper Injury.

A sigh of relief was let out in Washington DC, as Bryce Harper’s MRI reviled no structural damage. Harper left Saturday night’s show down with the San Francisco Giants after sustaining a gruesome leg injury. Panic swept across the DMV area and twitter erupted with videos of the gut wrenching sight that was Harper’s season ending, or so we thought. After a 3-hour rain delay the game started around 10, and it wasn’t long before what everyone was worried about when playing on a wet diamond happened. Harper hit a ground ball to the first basemen who made an incredible diving stop, fielded it and had harper out by a good 3 feet, then while still sprinting on the could’ve been single, Harpers left leg hits the wet bag, bends the opposite way and snaps back propelling the outfielder into the air. As Harper laid there grabbing his knee and yelling in pain everyone at once feared the worst, Harper had just been taken from a Nats team that has a serious chance to make a post season run. With help from trainers Harper was taken into the clubhouse unable to put weight on his leg and just like that the focus was no longer on win or lose, it was on did the season just end in Mid-August? After the game, Skipper Dusty Baker said they knew it was a hyper extension to Harper’s knee, but any further damage won’t be known until an MRI on Sunday. Asking for prayers for Harper in the hopes it wasn’t as bad as it had seemed, prayers answered.

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Harper proved he’s as close as it comes to super human when it was announced that no season ending damage has been sustained, although, a deep bone bruise that will cause Bryce to miss time is all that was left of an awkward slide on a wet base. Harpers toughness has shown no bounds and undoubtedly will be shown again as Mr. All-Star laces them back up for the Nats before years’ end after such a scary instant, giving fans and teammates hope as well as relief that the young star hadn’t had the game ripped away from him for an extended period. With Harper sidelined center fielder Michael A. Taylor has been taken off the DL and inserted back into the lineup having outfielder Brian Goodwin to slide into right to cover Harper’s place on defense, but the third spot in the lineup is where the impact of Bryce’s absence will show the most; so far Dusty Baker has had third baseman Anthony Rendon and second baseman Daniel Murphy fill in for the power bat, with a line of a .500 avg. and two homers in two games for the second and third best hitters on the team. While Dusty has two very solid bats to put into that spot, not having the threat of Bryce Harper will hurt the lineup, just how much has yet to be determined.

Harper has been placed on the 10-day DL but no real timetable for his return has been given, a huge division lead allows for the Nationals to baby Harper to allow him to fully heal. Manager Dusty Baker gave a hint at a possible ‘realistic’ time line of about “10 days to two weeks” when talking to the media after the MRI had taken place however, he wouldn’t commit to that timeline being set in stone, nor should he knowing the Nationals, who are known for going over the date set for returning players, see Jayson Werth. GM Mike Rizzo also addressed the media saying that the Nats had “dodged a bullet,” and that the club “expects him back before the end of the year,” let’s hope Rizzo is right because without Harper, getting through Chicago and the Dodgers seems to be almost undoable, but with him this team has just as good of a chance as anyone to become the new Kings of October.

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