After his hitless streak was extended to 19 at-bats today in a win over the Padres, Bryce Harper will rest Saturday and Sunday to recuperate both his mind and body, according to manager Davey Johnson.
Harper returned from the DL with a homer in his first at-bat, but is 0-19 since with three walks. He has looked healthy playing defense and running the bases, but Davey described him as “grinding real bad”. If Harper is indeed pressing, which would be no surprise, a break would be called for and should do him some good.
The more concerning issue is that Johnson cited physical issues as a reason for Harper’s rest. Perhaps he is worn down after not playing for a month and immediately returning to his full steam ahead style of play, but this would be much more serious if Harper’s knee is still bothering him. It would be reprehensible of the Nats to be taking any risks with the long-term health of their superstar slugger, and a terrible indictment of the Nats’ medical staff given their mismanagement of the injury when it initially happened. Hopefully and most likely there is no significant problem, but it will be a disaster if there is.