WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper hyperextended his left knee when he slipped on a wet first base Saturday night, dealing a potentially devastating blow to the National League East-leading Nationals.
Manager Dusty Baker said Harper would undergo an MRI on Sunday and the Nationals would know more about the extent of his injury then.
“He was in obvious pain, and he was praying, and I was praying too,” Baker said.
While running out a ground ball to the right side of the infield in the first inning of a 3-1 win over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday, Harper avoided contact with first baseman Ryder Jones, then his left foot slipped on the base. His leg buckled, he went airborne and he fell to the ground as his helmet went flying.
“I’m asking for prayers that it’s not serious,” Baker said.
Because of a bevy of injuries, the Nationals have used 12 outfielders this season. They have been without Adam Eaton since late April because of a torn ACL in his left knee that ended his season, Jayson Werth since early June because of a bruised left foot and Michael Taylor since July due to a right oblique strain.
“There aren’t many organizations that have 12 outfielders that they can really rely on and count on,” Baker said Friday. “Boy, that is a lot, especially when you only play three at a time. I’m just glad we have them.”
The Nationals are running away with the division, despite those injuries — and more to starters Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross, relievers Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover and shortstop Trea Turner. But a long-term injury to Harper would be far more trouble to Washington’s postseason hopes.
Harper is under contract through next season and can be a free agent in the winter of 2018.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.