After watching ace Stephen Strasburg leave Friday night's start with a strained right oblique — an ailment Strasburg later admitted has been nagging him over his past two starts and may have been furthered by attempting to pitch through it — the Washington Nationals have decided to play it a little safer with all-star Bryce Harper.
Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider first reported on Saturday that the team was planning on placing their 20-year-old outfielder on the 15-day DL so that he can fully recover from the left knee bursitis he's been dealing with since crashing into the outfield wall at Dodger Stadium back on May 13. That move is now official, which means Roger Bernadina will continue receiving the bulk of the playing time in left field until Jayson Werth returns from his hamstring injury next week
In retrospect, it's a move the Nationals probably wish they had made right away to protect Harper from himself. He was clearly struggling through that ailment, not to mention the nasty ingrown toenail, but talked his way into the lineup just about everyday over the next two weeks. However, last Sunday Harper was given a day of rest and we've yet to see him since. That means the DL decision will be retroactive to May 26.
In their corresponding move, Washington he recalled right-handed pitcher Erik Davis to give their staff a little extra depth to offset Strasburg's absence. At this point, there's no word on how long that absence might be, but I think the Nationals would be wise to take the exact same approach. Place Strasburg on the DL right now. Protect him from himself and make sure he's healthy and ready for the stretch run.