Nationals Avoid Scare as Bryce Harper Leaves Game With Bad Bruise

The Nationals averted what certainly could have qualified as a crisis when outfielder Bryce Harper left Wednesday's 2-0 win over the Braves in the sixth inning.

After checking his swing on a pitch from Paul Maholm, Harper grimaced in pain and was ultimately replaced in the bottom of the sixth inning by Roger Bernadina. It originally looked like the 20-year-old strained a muscle, and with a lineup already missing Jayson Werth (ankle) and Ryan Zimmerman (hamstring), the Nationals could ill afford to lose their best player through the first month of the season.

But that didn't happen. According to manager Davey Johnson, Harper left the game as a result of a bruise that he suffered while leaping into the right-field wall as he tried to rob Tim Hudson of a home run Tuesday.

Harper is listed as day-to-day.

"If I can play tomorrow, I'm gonna play," Harper told reporters yesterday. "If they put me in the lineup, I'm gonna play. I can play with pain and I can tolerate pain, so hopefully there's nothing that can keep me out of that lineup tomorrow."

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