Bryce Harper has been dealing with left hip soreness that comes and goes, according to Nationals athletic trainer Lee Kuntz, but is fine to play. For at least the past two games, Harper has been visibly hobbled. Following Sunday’s game, he acknowledged playing hurt but declined to identify the discomfort. And after Monday’s game, Manager Davey Johnson revealed Harper was receiving treatment on his hip, but Harper insisted that he was okay.
“We’re at that time of year where people are getting a little dinged up,” Kuntz said. “You guys know that. Is it sore? Yeah. Can he play? Yeah.”
Kuntz, who declined to say how long Harper has been receiving treatment for the hip, said he did not know the origin of the soreness. Harper has not received tests yet but would be evaluated by doctors.
“You see it early and then sometimes you don’t see it for a while and then it rears its ugly head again,” Kuntz said. “But it’s that time of year. A lot of people are nicked up.”
Despite obvious limitations, Harper played all nine innings on Monday. Johnson was concerned and asked Harper how he felt. Harper told Johnson, and received confirmation through first base coach Tony Taraso and right fielder Jayson Werth, that he was okay to keep playing.
“I’m fine,” Harper said after Monday’s game. “Just like I told [Johnson]. If I was hurting I’d come out of the game. I feel good.”
Johnson, who originally feared an aggravation of Harper’s earlier knee injury, didn’t know the outfielder was receiving treatment and was upset with the team’s training staff for not informing him. “I mean, to this day, even now, they have not told me anything is wrong with him,” he said.
Johnson discovered his star’s injury when he noticed an assistant trainer massaging Harper’s hip. When he asked, Johnson said the training staff told him Harper was fine.
“If anybody’s ever getting treatment, no matter how small they think it is, I need to know,” Johnson said. “I wanted to get [Scott] Hairston in the lineup the other day, and I was going to take out either Harper or [Denard] Span. Knowing that he was getting treatment on his hip, I could’ve given him yesterday off. Because I wanted to ensure he’s ready to play these next two days and then have Thursday off. It’s very important. I always like to know anytime any player gets treatment.
“Sometimes players don’t want the manager to know they’re getting treatment, but I need that. It’s part of the information I can use to ensure that they can go through the year injury-free. They might be able to play with that injury, but it also might be better to take a day off, back off and let somebody else [play]. I got guys that I’ve got all the confidence in the world sitting on the bench. They need an opportunity to play if somebody’s a little bit under the weather.”
Johnson said he hopes Harper can get through the final two games in Philadelphia without any issue and can rest during Thursday’s offday in Miami.