The beginning of last week was most definitely eventful for Bryce Harper — but not in a good way.
The Washington Nationals outfielder crashed into the outfield wall in the fifth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers and injured his neck.
"As the ball kept going, I was like, 'Is he going to stop?'" Harper's teammate, Denard Span, said afterward. "He looked like he didn't get a good jump at all, like he was surprised the ball was hit to him. I thought he was going to jump and brace himself. As soon as he ran into it, his body locked up."
As a result of the collision, Harper received 11 stitches on his neck and shoulder. ESPN's Buster Olney expressed the view in a blog post that while Harper's tendency to go all out on every play is a reason he is so fun to watch, it could be something to be concerned about.
The day after the injury, Harper tweeted about how hard he plays:
"I will keep playing this game hard for the rest of my life even if it kills me!" Harper said on Twitter. "I'll never stop! #RespectTheGame".
Despite hitting his 11th home run of the season later in the week, Harper has clearly been affected by the injury. Since it happened, the Nationals have gone 3-3.
On Tuesday, the Nationals looked in position to steal a win against the defending champions, the San Francisco Giants. The Nats had a 2-1 lead, when Gregor Blanco hit an RBI triple that sailed over Harper's head. The Giants tied the game, and sent the game into extra innings, where they were able to defeat Washington.
After the game, the Nationals closer Rafael Soriano questioned whether or not Harper was in the right position in order to make a better attempt at catching Blanco's triple.
Whether or not Harper could have possibly caught the ball had he been positioned better, is something that we will never know. Harper did however admit that his collision with the wall the week before was in the back of his mind on that final play.
"Of course it crosses your mind after you jam into a wall, and it doesn't really feel very good," Harper told ESPN. "It sucks not making the play. I totally put that loss on me."
Harper is currently listed as day to day, as he also battles swelling in his left leg — another lingering effect from his collision with the wall.
Meanwhile, Harper, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, took time to send a message about LDS President Thomas S. Monson after news broke that President Monson's wife, Sister Frances J. Monson, passed away on Friday.
"Prayers go out to President Monson and his Family today! #FamiliesAreForever" Harper said on Twitter.
You can follow Mitch Kunzler on Twitter at: @MitchKunzler
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