Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper opted to take a one-game rest Tuesday following a nasty collision in which he ran headfirst into the outfield wall while chasing a fly ball.
Harper, the reigning National League rookie of the year, suffered the injury Monday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In the fifth inning of the game, with the Nats leading 6-0, Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis hit a ball deep into right field that looked as if it had a chance to leave the park.
While tracking the hit, the 20-year-old Harper ran headfirst into the right-field wall and crumpled to the ground.
“I thought I had the ball the whole time,” said Harper, whose spot in right field was filled on Tuesday by Tyler Moore. “I turned left. I didn’t think he hit it as hard as he did. I went back to the right side and I thought I had about five more feet. … I was looking at the ball and right when I turned around, I jumped to get the ball. Right before I tried to leap up, I just hit the wall.
Harper, who was forced to leave the game due to the injury, received 11 stitches in his chin and jammed his shoulder, but, according to Nationals manager Davey Johnson, didn’t sustain a concussion.
“His shoulder, (left) knee and head took the brunt,” Johnson said. “I’d say I’m more worried about his shoulder and his knee than I am about the stitches in his chin.”
When asked if the collision would affect the way he approaches future fly-balls, Harper said no.
“I’m going to play this game for the rest of my life and try to play it as hard as I can every day,” he said. “That’s my life on the line. At the end of the day I’m going to look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘I played this game as hard as I could and tried to make my team win a World Series every day.’ “