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Nationals injury news: Neck stiffness not sidelining Bryce Harper for long

Washington isn’t pushing for any further precautions with their star.

Washington Nationals v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Nothing was really working for the Nationals on Saturday, as they lost 7-1 to the visiting Giants. Stephen Strasburg couldn’t get out of the fifth inning; nobody was hitting except for Wilson Ramos; and no one out of the bullpen seemed able to stop the bleeding.

Bryce Harper, with only five hits in his last 41 AB, was not seeing an end to his struggles, either. He wound up 0-for-3 on the day with three strikeouts, and on a swinging strike in his final at-bat of the day, he seemed to grimace in pain and took a moment to right himself. That’s not the kind of thing you want to see in your young five-tool star, so manager Dusty Baker yanked Harper due to what was later called a “stiff neck.”

Baker shrugged off concern after the loss.

“Anybody who has ever had a stiff neck, I mean, you know you’re not yourself,” Baker said. “So I took him out for precaution. We’ll see if it’s any better tomorrow.”

Now comes the part where fans hover anxiously to see if this really was a minor day-to-day issue, or a hint of something more ominous. Are the Nationals hiding something? Is Baker in on it? This could go all the way to the top, for all we know. However, with an off day today, Harper gets some extra time to recover, and according to CSN Mid-Atlantic, that’s all he’s going to need.

Out of the lineup against the Giants on Sunday with a stiff neck, Bryce Harper was told to rest as a precaution with an off-day coming up on Monday. The Nationals still believe he will be available to face the Indians on Tuesday and have not prescribed any further testing - an X-ray or MRI - for the reigning MVP.

The Nationals will take on one of the American League’s best clubs on Tuesday as the Indians visit D.C. At least seven games up on all NL East challengers, Washington does not have much to worry about at the moment, especially if Harper’s neck is not a concern - though that .233 BA through 105 games is a little troublesome (but he is tied with Joey Votto for the league lead in walks with 82).