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Bryce Harper slams face-first into outfield fence: Needs 11 stitches, has no concussion

Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper has proven two things about himself before his 21st birthday.

1) He can play baseball better than most. 2) He can make himself bleed quite creatively.

Harper knocked himself senseless in the fifth inning Monday night running into the right-field fence at Dodger Stadium — full-speed and face-first — in pursuit of a fly ball. He was bloodied from a cut on his chin that needed 11 stitches to close, dazed from the jarring impact and was forced to leave the game. With his neck ringed by a trickle of blood, Harper uneasily walked off the field under the supervision of Nats staff and teammates.

But the first medical reports were encouraging: He sustained minor injuries to a shoulder, his neck and a knee, but he doesn't have a concussion according to his agent, Scott Boras, who also said Harper will be checked by X-ray Tuesday.

The number of stitches top, by one, the repairs done to Harper's face in 2012 after he accidentally hit his own face with a bat after getting upset. Nobody makes Bryce Harper bleed his own blood ... like Bryce Harper.

Via the Washington Post:

“Bryce is going to be all right,” Manager Davey Johnson said.

Sure, as long as he heeds the warning track next time. Outfielder Denard Span had the closest views of what happened after the Dodgers' A.J. Ellis drove a ball over Harper's head, and the Washington Times quoted him as saying:

“The way he ran into the wall, he definitely had no idea where he was (in relation to it),” Span said. "As soon as he ran into it his body locked up. I’ve never seen anybody run into the wall like that.

“I just was like ‘Is he going to stop?’ And he just kept going.”

View photo

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The ring of blood around Harper's neck is reminiscent of the movie 'Highlander.' (Getty)

Span also said that Harper was lobbying to

Already one of the league's best players, Harper came in batting .297 .387 .619 with 10 home runs. The Nationals would miss him terribly if he missed any time. And he might miss a game or two, but it could have been worse — like when Aaron Rowand busted his face big-time making a catch for the Phillies in 2006

Harper didn't make the catch, but he also hit the fence harder. Here are a couple of animations you won't be able to stop watching:

Slow

Fast

It's going to be illuminating, reading what Harper says about why his cleats failed to detect the warning track of dirt at his feet. Being hard-nosed is one thing. Even being reckless, with a disregard for one's own body in the name of making the play, is one thing. But not knowing where the outfield fence is? That's a good way to shorten what ought to be a great career. Not to be a curmudgeon.

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