Bryce Harper scratched with swelling in left hand


John McDonnell/TWP

Bryce Harper was scratched from today’s Nationals lineup with swelling in his left hand, the result of getting jammed in his final at-bat Friday. Manager Davey Johnson said he is unconcerned with the injury and plans for Harper to play tomorrow. Harper wanted to travel to Port St. Lucie and play today against the Mets, but Johnson disallowed him.

“He’s been getting a lot or reps, a lot of at-bats,” Johnson said. “I was going to bring him today because I like to watch him play. I took him out yesterday, and it was on my mind not to have him come here. When I saw him this morning, I said, ‘Oh, by the way, you’re not going.’ I scratched him.”

In his second at-bat yesterday, Harper ripped a line drive single to right against Tigers left-hander Drew Smyly. But on the swing, the cut fastball jammed Harper. On first base, Harper grimaced and flexed his left hand.

“I took him out yesterday, because he had swelling,” Johnson said. “Although I couldn’t believe that ball jammed him. It was a bullet.”

Hand and wrist injuries tend to linger for hitters. But when asked if he was worried, Johnson replied with a quick, “No.”

As long as Harper returns tomorrow with no ill effects, the Nationals will have dodged a second bullet aimed at one of their phenoms in as many days. Yesterday, Prince Fielder scorched a line drive that deflected off Stephen Strasburg’s glove and caused a brief scare. It is a dangerous time for the left hands of the Nationals’ No. 1 overall picks.

Here is the Nationals’ new lineup for today:

1. Roger Bernadina, CF

2. Danny Espinosa, SS

3. Tyler Moore, 1B

4. Chad Tracy, 3B

5. Wilson Ramos, C

6. Carlos Rivero, LF

7. Steve Lombardozzi, 2B

8. Micah Owings, RF

9. Gio Gonzalez, SP

Adam Kilgore covers the Nationals for The Washington Post.
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Adam Kilgore · March 23, 2013