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Harper may miss O's series with sore knee

WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is expected to miss at least a couple of games because of left knee soreness, according to manager Davey Johnson.

The knee started to bother Harper in Sunday's 6-1 victory over the Phillies. With one out in the first inning, Harper reached first on an infield single and then went into second with a head-first slide after an error by second baseman Freddy Galvis on the play. About a minute later, Harper stole third base, also sliding in head first, and he attended to the knee when he got up.

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Two innings later, Harper fouled a ball off the knee. In the seventh inning, Harper drew a walk and left the game for a pinch-runner, and was limping badly as he went into the dugout.

Harper sustained the knee injury on May 13 after he banged into the right-field wall at Dodger Stadium.

Harper believes the knee will not get better until the offseason, and despite what Johnson said, Harper said he is planning to play against the Orioles on Monday.

"I have to deal with the pain and try to [stay] in there every day. We'll see what happens," Harper said.

Johnson would like to see Harper slide feet first, but if he did that, Harper said the knee would feel worse. The pain bothers him the most when he is running bases. He sometimes feels pain when he tries to push off his back side when he is in the batter's box.

"If I slide feet first right now, my knee would not be good," Harper said. "It's more the running part and having that fear of sliding and banging it up. I don't really play with fear."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashinNats.

Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper