Nats’ Davey Johnson says swelling has gone down in Bryce Harper’s knee

(Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

(Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

On the eve of Bryce Harper’s trip to Florida to see orthopedist James Andrews — an examination that has major implications for Harper’s season and the Washington Nationals’ fortunes — Manager Davey Johnson said the swelling has gone down in Harper’s injured left knee.

Harper “felt pretty good” Saturday morning, Johnson said, “and that’s a good sign. We’ll see what Dr. Andrews has to say and pretty much go from there.”

Harper, 20, injured his knee on May 13 after crashing into the outfield fence at Dodger Stadium and hasn’t played since May 26, when he aggravated the injury on a pair of head-first slides and a foul ball off his knee. Harper was in the Nationals’ clubhouse prior to Saturday’s game at Nationals Park against the Minnesota Twins, but did not make himself available to the media.

Harper was placed on the disabled list a week ago with what is officially described as bursitis. Until that point, the team had described his status as “day-to-day.” On Thursday, the Nationals decided to schedule the appointment for Harper with Andrews, the noted orthopedist who in January oversaw the reconstructive knee surgery of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Harper will leave Sunday evening and will be examined on Monday. According to Johnson, Harper is shooting for returning to the Nationals’ lineup on Tuesday in Colorado.

“I think that’s still unrealistic,” Johnson added.

Meantime, Johnson said that injured second baseman Danny Espinosa could be a few days away from resuming baseball activities after responding well to a cortisone shot administered on Tuesday. Espinosa had been playing for most of the season with a wrist injury suffered on April 14 when he was hit by a pitch.

Espinosa resisted going on the disabled list, but his declining performance at the plate (.158/.193/.272 this season) forced the Nationals to make the move Tuesday.

“He’s a gamer. He plays [when he’s] not feeling 100 percent,” Johnson said. “But hopefully, he can’t cause any worse damage. Hey, get it right and come back and help us.”

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