On the same day Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the disabled list, the Nationals revealed an injury to another of their stars, as reigning MVP Bryce Harper was removed from Saturday night's loss to the Giants with neck stiffness.
Harper was replaced in the top of the seventh by rookie Brian Goodwin after feeling discomfort in his neck. He has been dealing with the injury for several days.
Harper does not know exactly what caused it. He woke up one morning this past week with a stiff neck and it has been bothering him ever since.
"It's a stiff neck. That's not the greatest for baseball. Definitely tough, but I'll try to come in here tomorrow and see where we're at," he said.
"Anybody who has ever had a stiff neck, I mean, you know you're not yourself," manager Dusty Baker said. "So I took him out for precaution. We'll see if it's any better tomorrow."
Harper played through the ailment for at least a few games, but on Saturday had to take a breather during his second at-bat in the bottom of the third inning. He stepped out of the batter's box and crouched down in hopes of loosening up his neck.
"It just didn't feel very good. It got a little tense in there. I needed a break real quick. Our trainer got out there and gave me a second. Just definitely didn't feel right. Hopefully we can see what tomorrow has in store for us," Harper said.
Harper went 0-for-3 in the loss with three strikeouts and saw his batting average drop to .233. Whether he will play in the series finale on Sunday is now in question. The Nats do have Monday off, which could give the Nats some extra incentive to keep him out on Sunday. That said, it is an important game against a team they could meet later this season in the playoffs.
"I'll get some treatment on that and hopefully feel better tomorrow or Tuesday. We'll see where we're at," Harper said.
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