Spring is so often the time of year associated with hope. Veterans are invigorated. Rookies exude potential. But when a star player goes down during the Spring, that hope falters. Fans tense up. The air goes out of those cozy little stadiums in Florida and Arizona, and everyone holds their breath.
So, when Bryce Harper was hit in the right ankle by a 96 mph fastball, the mood in the Philadelphia Phillies’ dugout, and throughout the surrounding stands, was predictably tense. Harper immediately collapsed onto the dirt in the left handed batters box, then pushed himself up onto all fours while the training staff attended to him. He then offered some… er, constructive criticism to the offending pitcher, Blue Jays right hander, Trent Thorton (feel free to watch the video on MLB.com and read his lips #NSFW), before walking off the field under his own power.
Thankfully, initial X-rays at ballpark came back negative. Still, Harper left the stadium shortly thereafter to get more detailed X-rays.
“Right now, Bryce has a right foot contusion, and we’re going to go in and meet with the trainers,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told MLB.com. “Right now we don’t have reason for major concern, but obviously we want to go inside and take a look first.”
The question now becomes one of Harper’s continued health. Baseball fans would loath to see Harper lose playing time to an injury sustained during a Spring Training game, but those things do happen. Think Madison Bumgarner’s broken hand in the final preseason game last year.
But Kapler urged patience.
“I think it’s a little premature to speculate on lost at-bats or anything like that,” Kapler said. “First and foremost, we probably have to get inside and meet with our medical team and discuss it. But again, not overly concerned right now.”