A slumping Bryce Harper was out of the lineup again tonight for the Nationals owing to a seemingly minor neck issue, but the precise nature of his injury has been the subject of some debate. Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post breaks down all the back-and-forth on the topic. In essence, Nats GM Mike Rizzo strongly denied a report from SI.com’s Tom Verducci indicating that Harper may have been playing through a shoulder injury for some time. Rizzo insists that Harper simply has a stiff neck that has not yet required a DL placement.
Here’s more on some injury situations around the game:
- Diamondbacks righty Rubby De La Rosa has suffered a setback in his efforts to come back from a forearm injury, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com tweets. He’s headed for an MRI to see where things stand. It seems as if there’s little reason to expect the 27-year-old to return to the majors this season. That’s a tough blow for the D-Backs, who surely would like to get a longer look at a pitcher who showed a fair bit of promise this year. Over 47 2/3 innings earlier in the season, De La Rosa worked to a 4.15 ERA with 9.3 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9.
- The Astros will be without Colby Rasmus for a month or more after he underwent surgery to remove a cyst from his ear, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Rasmus has been struggling for some time, and it’s fair to wonder whether the issue may have played a significant role. He’ll need to return in good form to provide a boost to the ’Stros — and to bolster his fading free agent position.
- Marlins first baseman Justin Bour isn’t progressing in his attempt to return from an ankle injury, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports on Twitter. In fact, manager Don Mattingly says that Bour “went backwards” of late, with the team’s expectation now being that he won’t return until at least early September. That certainly seems to open some room for Miami to look into adding a bat to chip in down the stretch.
- Athletics righty Sonny Gray only just began forearm exercises today, John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group reports. He won’t begin throwing again unless and until the inflammation subsides. At this point, it seems far from certain whether he’ll make it back to a major league hill this season.
- The Mariners may soon send reliever Steve Cishek out on a rehab assignment, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports. It appears that his hip labrum issue is indeed as minor as the team had suggested. Meanwhile, fellow pen righty Tony Zych is also finally making some progress and will begin a rehab assignment on Friday. Adding those two arms down the stretch would provide a significant boost to Seattle’s late-inning mix.