Bryce Harper was scratched from the Nationals’ lineup for Saturday’s game in Cincinnati, the slugger’s back still sore after getting hit by a pitch the previous night.
Harper, who was originally listed on manager Matt Williams’ lineup card in his customary cleanup spot, will be replaced in right field by Clint Robinson (who had been scheduled to start in left). Michael Taylor is now starting in left field and batting eighth.
It’s the first time Harper hasn’t started a game for the Nationals this year, a major factor in his dominant performance so far at the plate and in the field after two injury-plagued seasons.
Harper was hit squarely in the back, between his uniform numbers, on a first-pitch fastball from left-hander Tony Cingrani in the top of the seventh. Harper, who writhed in pain at the plate and chucked his shin guard toward the Nationals’ dugout, later got into an animated conversation with Reds first baseman Joey Votto after he eventually made his way down the baseline.
“He should have jogged, but what are you going to do?” Cingrani told reporters after the game. “Be a baseball player. Sorry I hit you, run.”
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