WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper was removed in the seventh inning of the Nats' 6-2 victory in the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader against the Reds, a half-inning after he was hit just below the right kneecap with an errant pitch. The injury was described as a stinger and Harper should not require further testing, but the Nationals were not sure whether he would be in the lineup for Sunday afternoon's series finale.
Harper was hit by an 82-mph curveball from reliever Austin Brice. He immediately went to the ground, prompting manager Dave Martinez and head athletic trainer Paul Lessard to emerge from the dugout to check on him. Harper eventually walked up the line under his own power, advancing to second base on a wild pitch.
Harper also didn't need assistance as he walked off the field after the bottom of the sixth, but when he was seen limping in the outfield chasing down a double from Mason Williams in the seventh, the Nationals decided not to risk any injury with their superstar. Adam Eaton took over in right field.
"I was just in pain," Harper said. "There was no point in being out there."
Brice came over to Harper before he returned to the visiting dugout to apologize and acknowledge the pitch simply got away from him.
"No hard feelings toward him at all," Harper said.
"It's been a long day for both teams, it really has," Martinez said. "Both competitive teams. We want to win, they want to win. I don't think anybody was throwing at anybody."
Harper had played all nine innings in center field during the first game of Saturday's split doubleheader before starting in right field for the nightcap as well.
"I watched him," Martinez said. "He was shaking his head. He really couldn't run. Saw him run a little bit, and he wasn't moving very well."