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Bryce Harper Out “At Least Three Days” with Calf Injury


Washington Nationals top prospect Bryce Harper was likely already facing an uphill battle when it came to breaking camp with the major league club.  Harper’s bid to make the Nationals took a significant hit yesterday as Washington announced the outfielder will be out of spring training lineups for at least three days while nursing an injury to his left calf.

Harper reportedly began experiencing tightness in his calf upon waking up Thursday morning.  The 19-year-old was held out of the Nationals lineup Thursday and also missed yesterday’s game.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson told Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post that Harper will be help out of the lineup for at least another three days.  Johnson did say that Harper will continue hitting during this time, but that he and the Nationals are not going to rush him back to live action.

Johnson has been vocal in his desire to give Harper a real shot at making the Nationals Opening Day roster this spring.  In order to facilitate the addition of Harper, Washington has said it would be willing to move Jayson Werth to center field.

Harper has followed his impressive 2011 season in the minors and stint at the Arizona Fall League with a nice start to the spring training schedule.  Still, if the youngster’s calf forces him to miss much time at all it’s unlikely he’ll start the season in the majors.  Washington can also delay Harper’s service clock by holding him in the minors for at least a few months, something that is certainly playing a factor in the club’s decision making process.

Starting Harper in the minors seems the reasonable thing to do.  Washington can move players around if Harper forces a call up this summer.  Injuries also have a way of creating opportunities.

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