The Washington Nationals picked up their NL-leading 19th win of the season, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 on Thursday afternoon. However, the win may have come with a cost. The 2015 NL MVP Bryce Harper exited the game in the sixth inning with an apparent injury. Harper struck out with a big swing while facing Diamondbacks’ reliever Randall Delgado. Initially there was no sign of injury, no grimace or anything, as described by Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.
Harper took a big swing when he struck out to end that inning, but didn't grimace or anything.
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) May 4, 2017
Nationals manager Dusty Baker said Harper left after groin tightness. The decision to exit was precautionary and he is considered day-to-day, per Dan Kolko of MASN.
Harper said he felt the tightness during a diving catch he made in third inning to rob Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Shipley along the right-field line.
Bryce Harper. Catch gawd. pic.twitter.com/Jk2gsu9MGY
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) May 4, 2017
“Got it a little bit on the fly ball. That dive. I gotta stop diving, trying to catch fly balls too much,” Harper said per Eddie Matz of ESPN. “Just felt it a little bit. Little tight.”
Harper is off to a good start of the season. He currently ranks in the top five of all three Triple Crown categories. He is hitting .376 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs. He also leads the NL in runs (35), walks (26), and on-base percentage (.504).
Harper is coming off a disappointing 2016 season that may have been hampered by an undisclosed issue with his shoulders and neck. His numbers sagged to near career-lows. But he has bounced back this season playing at the top of his game thus far.
Harper’s setback adds to a list of health hiccups for the Nationals, who will be without starting centerfielder Adam Eaton for the remainder of the season. Eaton tore his ACL last week.
However after the game, Harper said he was not too worried about the groin. He is already looking to the Nationals’ next series at the Philadelphia Phillies which starts on Friday.
“Everybody knows I want to play in Philly,” Harper said.