Harper steps up, calls out team amid slide
DETROIT — Lost amid the lopsided nature of yesterday's 11-1 loss to the Tigers and Bryce Harper's notable comments afterward were the in-game departures of both Harper and Ross Ohlendorf due to injury.
The good news: Neither Nationals player appears to be seriously hurt, and the club doesn't expect either issue to linger.
Harper winced after taking a swing in the top of the seventh, prompting manager Davey Johnson and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz to check on him. Harper, who said he felt a spasm in his hip, retook his position in the batter's box and struck out, then returned to left field for the bottom of the inning.
But when the bottom of the eighth arrived, with the Nationals trailing by double digits, Harper was pulled and replaced in the field by Roger Bernadina.
"I feel fine," the 20-year-old said after the game, adding he expects to be able to play Friday night in the opener of a weekend series in Milwaukee.
"A little spasm in his hip area, probably from being in the field too much," Johnson said. "But I think he's going to be alright."
The Nationals also believe Ohlendorf is fine after he was pulled only 11 pitches into his relief appearance. Summoned to bail out Gio Gonzalez when the latter couldn't complete the bottom of the fourth, Ohlendorf never threw a fastball harder than 86 mph, down about 10 mph from his usual velocity.
"It was weird," Johnson said. His fastball was 84, and he said he was stiff. I said: 'Well, we can't take a chance on that.' He wanted to pitch, but no possibility."
Ohlendorf insisted his arm wasn't injured in any way, he simply wasn't able to throw 100 percent five days after tossing 114 pitches against the Mets, the most he'd thrown in a big-league game in four years.
"I just still haven't quite recovered from my last start," he said. "I mean, I'm fine. My arm just wasn't fresh."