Bryce Harper left Sunday’s game against the Phillies in the bottom of the seventh after aggravating his sore left knee earlier in the day when sliding head-first. He banged his knee while stealing third base in the first inning and afterwards walked with a visible limp until he was replaced.
Manager Davey Johnson said he expects the outfielder to miss several days, but when asked about whether he would miss time Harper replied with an emphatic ‘no.’
Harper’s knee was also bothered by a foul ball he hit in the third inning as it tipped right off his leg, a play he called “icing on the cake.” He said the injury is something that may not go away any time soon, and perhaps not until the season is over.
“I probably won’t get better until the offseason,” he said. “So I’ll just have to deal with the pain and try to keep in there every day and we’ll see what happens.”
Harper was eventually replaced by Roger Bernadina on base after drawing a walk, but not to his delight. The reigning N.L. Rookie of the Year had no intention of leaving the game and said he did not update the training staff or manager Davey Johnson of his status.
“I just tell [the trainers] to go away from me,” Harper said. “I don’t want to talk to them during the game. If I have a problem, I’ll go to Skip. If I don’t, then I’m not going to talk to anybody about it.”
Harper went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout, drawing the free pass in his fourth at-bat. It was in the seventh and the Nat’s offense had woken up by scoring five runs, but Harper wanted one more shot at a pitcher he has a history with.
“I swing it pretty well against [Cole] Hamels every time I face him, so I really wanted to stay in there against him,” he said.
Harper originally injured the knee when he ran into the wall at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles chasing a fly ball on May 13. Harper has missed three games due to the injury already and could potentially miss more.
Either way, Harper will have to deal with the pain and it seems to particularly be a problem when he slides. Harper says it makes no difference if he slides head first or with his feet, it’s going to hurt.
“I’m gonna feel it either way. It doesn’t matter. I mean, if I slide feet-first or slide head-first, I don’t think that’s gonna help it if anything.”