Having jammed his thumb awkwardly on a head first slide during Friday night’s game against the San Diego Padres, the Washington Nationals already knew that they’d be without Bryce Harper for the next two weeks after placing him on the disabled list Sunday. The team received results of an MRI exam on Monday, according to ESPN’s Keith Law, which revealed that Harper’s injury is much more severe than initially expected.
He’s scheduled to undergo surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. Harper is expected to be out “at least until July” while recovering from the procedure.
Harper initially appeared to hurt himself when sliding into third base on a bases-clearing triple. He’d remain in the game for an inning before being replaced, telling reporters afterwards that it was mostly precautionary:
I slid into the bag and I caught it a little bit. Went into the dugout, swung a couple in the cage, felt fine. Went out to the outfield, it swelled up a little bit. So I got in and got some treatment on it.
It’s clear that Washington didn’t anticipate that the injury had been so severe, as the team mostly explained following their decision to place him on the DL that it would not be an extended absence.
Washington has been hit hard by injuries early on this season, a tough blow for a team that entered the year as a favorite in the NL East. Catcher Wilson Ramos went down early with a hand injury before being joined on the disabled list by third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Neither is expected to return until mid-May, though Ramos has started to take swings again following surgery. Right-hander Doug Fister was the team’s main offseason acquisition. Back troubles have kept him on the shelf for much of the month and he only recently began a rehab assignment. The team’s bench and bullpen have also seen their share of concerns with Scott Hairston, Jeff Kobernus, and Ross Ohlendorff all on the shelf to begin the season.