WASHINGTON -- After getting hit by a pitch twice in the same area under his right knee this week, Bryce Harper arrived at Nationals Park still sore with his shin still swollen on Thursday morning.Harper was initially in the lineup for the Nationals' series finale against the Braves, but he
WASHINGTON -- After getting hit by a pitch twice in the same area under his right knee this week, Bryce Harper arrived at Nationals Park still sore with his shin still swollen on Thursday morning.
Harper was initially in the lineup for the Nationals' series finale against the Braves, but he had trouble getting loose before he was a late scratch. Michael A. Taylor started in center field and Adam Eaton played right field. The Nats hoped Harper would be available off the bench late in the game.
"It's pretty swollen still," manager Dave Martinez said. "Rather than him try to play through it, we thought the best option would be to have him come off the bench."
On Saturday night against the Reds, Harper was hit by a pitch on his right leg, and although he tried to play through it, he was eventually forced from the game early. Then in the eighth inning Wednesday night, he was hit on the right leg again. After Harper remained down on the ground in pain for a moment, he limped to first base and played the rest of the game.
"Just a little bit lower [than last time]," Harper said after the game. "It just hurts."
It's been about the only thing that can slow down Harper lately.
Harper is batting .339/.447/.677 with five home runs and 17 RBIs since the All-Star break -- including his 28th homer of the season on Wednesday night -- breaking out of his extended slump and raising his batting average from .214 to .234.
• Stephen Strasburg came out of his bullpen session fine Wednesday, his first time throwing off a mound since he landed on the disabled list with a pinched nerve in his neck. Martinez said he will need at least one more bullpen session in the next few days before he begins a Minor League rehab assignment.
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.