It’s already been reported that the Washington Nationals’ young star Bryce Harper was placed on the 15-day disabled list do to a strained thumb. He injured it sliding into third during the Nationals’ victory over the San Diego Padres on Friday. Monday it was reported by ESPN’s Keith Law that Harper will need surgery due to a torn ligament in his left thumb. Fox Sport’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted about the situation,
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) April 28, 2014
Harper visited Dr. Thomas Graham in Cleveland for a second opinion and unfortunately surgery, which will keep the 21-year old outfielder out until at least July, is the only option. The Nationals already have a very depleted team with a number of their best players on the disabled list, including third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, catcher Wilson Ramos and starting pitcher, acquired in the off-season from the Detroit Tigers, Doug Fister.
Besides this next two month stint away from the game Harper has spent a lot of his young career dealing with injuries. In 2013 Harper dealt with knee bursitis through much of the season. He played through it for as long as he could but eventually landed on the disabled list for 31 games. Total last season Harper missed 44 games and the injury eventually forced him to undergo surgery on the knee during the off-season.
Harper will be replaced with Nate McLouth. McLouth is a veteran outfielder the Nationals signed because they spent much of last season trying to find a suitable replacement for both Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth as they both spent time on the disabled list. Regarding McLouth and the two-year, $10.75 million contract he signed with the Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo told the Washington Post,
“We thought with Nate, who’s been a really good player on a contending team, he can be an everyday guy,”
Harper is not the first to suffer an injury from sliding into a base. Already this season Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton also tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his hand requiring surgery and the Red Sox Dustin Pedroia spent most of the 2013 season playing through a similar issue that ended up requiring surgery in the off-season.
So far this season Harper is hitting .289 with a home run and nine RBI in 91 plate appearances.