Bryce Harper to see Dr. James Andrews about knee swelling

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Sports,MLB,Nationals,Brian McNally

Headed to Dr. Andrews for swelling in knee

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has swelling in his left knee and will see Dr. James Andrews on Monday for an outside opinion.

Harper had previously been diagnosed with inflammation in the bursa sac in the front of his knee. He ran into the fence in Dodgers Stadium during a game at Los Angeles on May 13. That came two weeks after he originally experienced soreness following an April 29 game in Atlanta.

After that Dodgers game, Harper played in nine of Washington's next 12 games before being placed on the disabled list on June 1 in a move retroactive to May 27. He is eligible to return June 11, but that is unlikely to happen now, according to Nats manager Davey Johnson.

"Everybody says it's bursitis," Johnson said. "I thought taking some anti-inflammatory [would] calm it down, but it's kind of been lingering. When he runs, it swells up. This was just light jogging in the pool and it swelled up from that. So we're concerned and want another opinion on it."

Johnson didn't speculate on the range of opinions the team expected to hear. Surgery is an option if the bursa sac needs to be removed. But as of now, Johnson says there's not even enough fluid in the knee to drain it with a needle. So the Nats must sit and wait for their best hitter to return.

Harper was batting .303 after that May 13 game with 10 home runs and 21 RBI. His OPS was 1.022. He is now at .287 with 12 homers and 23 RBI in 44 games. His OPS also dropped to .973 as he tried to play through the pain.

"I'm not going to rush it. I'm going to take as much time as I can to get it right," Harper said. "I want to get back in this lineup 100 percent. I don't want to get back in it 80 percent."

Harper is hardly the only injury issue facing Washington. Ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg was officially placed on the disabled list on Thursday with a strained right lat muscle. The team recalled left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeno from Triple-A Syracuse.

Meanwhile, the team announced MRI results for second baseman Danny Espinosa, who is dealing with a fractured right wrist and bone chips to go with the small tear in the rotator cuff of his left shoulder. The shoulder showed no more damage than expected. Espinosa had a cortisone shot in his hand and will resume baseball activities in four or five days, Johnson said.

Ross Detwiler (strained right oblique) will make a rehab start at Single-A Potomac. He is expected to throw 40 or 50 pitches and would be in line to start a game on the road next week in Colorado or Cleveland.

"It's a long season and we've gone through some injuries," Johnson said. "I think we're gonna come out of it all right. We've got the guys here to do it. But we've got to get on with it."

Note » The Nationals and New York Mets were rained out Thursday in the scheduled series finale at Nationals Park. There was no make-up date announced and Washington no longer needs to recall a starter for Saturday's game against the Minnesota Twins. Ace pitcher Stephen Strasburg (right lat strain) will miss that start, but is set to pitch a simulated game in Colorado on Tuesday. He was placed on the disabled list Thursday retroactive to June 1.

bmcnally@washingtonexaminer.com

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