Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, placed on the DL on Sunday, will be out until at least early July, according to ESPN’s Keith Law. Harper is having surgery to repair a torn UCL in his left thumb, the same injury that put Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton out of action earlier this year.
Without Harper, Washington is going to be in a tough position – Nate McLouth is a fine fill-in for a couple of weeks, but not for a couple of months. Steven Souza will also probably end up getting some playing time for the Nationals, but he’s nowhere near the player that Harper is.
Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos, and now Harper are all missing from their lineup, meaning that Washington is missing three players from their Opening Day lineup, and we’re not even in the month of May yet. While Doug Fister can’t help the Nationals offense, his expected return from a strained lat next week should help their rotation and maybe let the team succeed with a weaker offense.
I wonder how much Harper’s injury was caused by him wanting to please manager Matt Williams, who benched Harper for not running out a ground ball last weekend. Harper turns on the jets turning a double into a triple, and hurts himself on a slide, which seems to be a bit counterproductive. I also wonder when teams are simply going to tell their players to stop sliding head-first into bases – injuries keep happening, and teams keep losing key players. This is a trend that’s getting ugly across the league.