The Nationals got a dose of good news on a night All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos went down with a potentially serious knee injury, as Bryce Harper's X-ray came back negative, meaning there are no broken bones in his left thumb.
Harper, 23, suffered the injury sliding into third base on Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh. He had the X-ray on Monday morning and the team is of course pleased to hear the results.
"He could be back within a couple days, a few days. That’s big right there," manager Dusty Baker said. "The swelling’s down, so I think his strength is up, I heard. It’s very positive. We still got time for him to get well.”
Getting Harper back soon would be huge for a Nationals team that just saw Ramos go down and recently saw Daniel Murphy injure his left buttock and Stephen Strasburg strain his right flexor mass.
Murphy's injury is also not expected to be serious. Baker even said on Monday that it's "very likely" he will be ready to go for the playoffs. But that's four of the Nats' five All-Stars now injured to varying degrees with just six games left in the regular season.
At least with Harper, they may have dodged a bullet.
[RELATED: Ramos set for MRI as Nats hope injury isn't serious]
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Despite Mark Lerner's comments to NBC Sports Washington that the team hasn't been in recent contact with Bryce Harper and has filled out the roster, SNY's Andy Martino says not to give up hope.
"Do not believe that the Nationals are out on Harper," Martino said. "People I talk to around the situation are saying don't rule the Nationals out until the moment that Harper signs elsewhere."
Martino believes that the clearest options may not be what they seem.
"The Phillies of course are pursuing him, but I continue to hear they have a tough road to get Harper to come to Philly," he said. "The Phillies are possible but I don’t know that I would call them frontrunners."
After the news of Manny Machado signing with the Padres, all eyes turn to Bryce Harper and how long this continues to drag out.
The clock is ticking.
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When Nationals principal managing owner Mark Lerner see his team lose, he has a postgame ritual that rivals one of the most ordinary passionate fan.
“ I go into a closet and scream a little after,” Lerner told NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas in an exclusive interview in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Friday. “No, no. That’s one thing that’s good about baseball. You’re going to play the next day. But I go home. I’m totally depressed. I won’t turn on the sports news or anything and get up the next morning, it’s a new day, get up and go after it again today. When I’m sitting down there, I’m very passionate as a fan. I’m yelling at the umpires like everybody else. I want to win. I hate losing exhibition games let alone regular-season games.”
Lerner also spoke about Bryce Harper's future - or lack thereof - with the team, Anthony Rendon and what he expects from the team this season.
The interview is now available in full on the MyTeams app, which can be downloaded here.
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