When you play with the reckless abandon we're accustomed to seeing from Bryce Harper on a daily basis, there will often be consequences. In the case of Harper, they may just be delayed because he's 20, he rarely slows down enough for his adrenaline to reach normal levels, and there's even some debate about whether or not he's made with the same fibers as the rest of us mere mortals.
Here's what we mean.
On Wednesday, Harper exited the Washington Nationals much needed 2-0 victory over the Braves with a bruised left side. An injury that actually occurred during Tuesday night's game when Harper collided with Turner Field's right field wall as he unsuccessfully attempted to rob Tim Hudson of his third career home run.
Though Harper was able to finish Tuesday's game without any apparent lingering issues, he was clearly in some degree of discomfort by the time batting practice rolled around on Wednesday. He still played, of course, because there's no way Davey Johnson could talk him out of it, but his pain tolerance reached its threshold on a sixth inning check swing.
Not wanting to risk Harper's status for the immediate future, he was removed from the game between innings and is now considered day-to-day. A much better scenario than a strained oblique, which looked to be a possibility initially, or bruised ribs. In Harper's mind, however, he's minute-to-minute with an eye on being in the lineup again on Thursday.
"If I can play tomorrow, I'm gonna play," Harper said. "If they put me in the lineup, I'm gonna play. I can play with pain and I can tolerate pain, so hopefully there's nothing that can keep me out of that lineup tomorrow."
With most players I'd say there's absolutely no chance he'll play. With Harper, I'll only say there's very little chance. The Nationals will want to err on the side of caution, so they, along with the rest of us, might have to live without Harper's presence and energy for one day. A small price to pay as Washington seeks to protect Harper from himself and hopes to keep him in one piece for the next 15-20 years.