Bryce Harper got the day off Wednesday to rest his sore left thumb, but he hopes to play in the Nationals' exhibition game Friday in Washington, if not sooner. The outfielder, who has twice been jammed on inside pitches in the last week, is hitting .476 this spring with three homers, 14 RBIs and a remarkable 1.238 OPS in 23 Grapefruit League games. He originally jammed the thumb in an at-bat Friday against the Tigers, and he re-aggravated the soreness on Tuesday against the Marlins. Manager Davey Johnson suggested on Tuesday that he'd rest Harper for a day or two. "When I woke up this morning, it felt fine," Harper said. "Yesterday it kind of got me a little bit. I thought it was going to be a lot worse when I woke up this morning, and it wasn't. If I was in the lineup today, I could play." Harper didn't take batting practice on Wednesday and planned to get more treatment, but he felt accomplished with his 67 at-bats already this spring. That said, he hopes to play Friday at Nationals Park against the Yankees before having some time off Saturday and Sunday before Monday's regular-season opener against the Marlins. "I don't think it's gonna hold me down or anything. I have a pretty high pain tolerance," Harper said. "I had it in Hagerstown my first year, and it was a lot worse." Harper, last year's National League Rookie of the Year, said he doesn't believe at this point that it will be an issue that lingers long into the regular season. He hasn't been checked out by the team doctors, though Johnson has said before that he may be. Harper said he'll wear a thumb guard during batting practice, and he may also wear it during games. "It doesn't seem to be that bad to that point," Harper said of any long-term consequences. "Hopefully it doesn't get to that point. But I don't see it getting to that point at all."
Harper rests thumb, expects to return soon
MLB.com | Mar 27