WASHINGTON — Despite their best efforts, the Washington Nationals couldn’t get the bat out of Bryce Harper’s hands in the eighth inning Friday night.
A day later, a light bulb did the trick.
Harper wasn’t in the Phillies’ lineup on Saturday after a blister at the base of his left index finger burst and became infected. He was receiving treatment, including antibiotics, and is considered day-to-day, according to acting director Rob Thomson.
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“It kind of exploded on him overnight,” Thomson said. “I planned to play it [Saturday]but I had to scratch it.
Consider it just about the first thing that hasn’t gone to plan for the Phillies in two weeks under Thomson.
Harper went 3-for-4 with one walk in a 5-3 win in the opener of Friday’s day-night doubleheader. He didn’t start the last drink, although Thomson said it was a planned break. Harper came on as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning and would have walked on four pitches. But plate umpire Clinton Vondrak missed a four-ball call. Harper had a two-run brace to tie the game on the next pitch.
“I wasn’t very happy,” Harper said, still irritated after the game. “It worked, didn’t it? It worked.
With Harper out of the lineup, Nick Castellanos took a turn as the designated hitter and Matt Vierling played right field.
If Harper doesn’t play in Sunday’s series finale against the Nationals, the Phillies could give him three straight days off before opening a two-game series Tuesday night at Texas.
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Harper bats .326 and hits .622 with .391 on-base percentage, 21 doubles, 15 homers and 48 RBIs. Through Friday, he tied with Paul Goldschmidt of St. Louis for the league lead in added hits (37).
A day after veteran third base coach Dusty Wathan alerted Rhys Hoskins at home because he realized the obstruction would be called on Nationals shortstop Luis García, Thomson pleaded for him to eventually be hired as a manager.
“This guy is a fantastic baseball spirit, and I hope when managerial positions come up, he’ll be on the tip of every GM’s tongue. I really do,” Thomson said. “Because that he’s that type of baseball spirit as far as I’m concerned.”
If an umpire thinks a fielder has obstructed a runner’s path, the rule allows the umpire to use judgment to award the runner “whatever base he would have reached if the obstruction n didn’t happen,” according to team leader Dan Iassogna. Wathan knew the rule and yelled at Hoskins to keep running even though he would have been at home plate about 30 feet away.
“Rhys knows the rule. We’ve touched on this stuff before,” Wathan said. “It helps sometimes to know the rules.”
Wathan has been the Phillies’ third baseman coach since 2018 after 10 years as a minor league manager. He interviewed for the Phillies managerial job that went to Gabe Kapler after the 2017 season.
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The Phillies traded reliever James Norwood to the Boston Red Sox for cash.
Norwood, acquired late in spring training from the San Diego Padres, posted an 8.31 ERA in 17 ⅓ innings in 20 appearances. He is out of minor league options and was slated for assignment last week.
Hoskins has a day off scheduled for Saturday. Third baseman Alec Bohm started at first base, while Yairo Muñoz played third. … The Nationals retired Ryan Zimmerman’s No. 11 in a 70-minute pregame ceremony. Among the guests: former Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth. Zimmerman batted .271 with 27 home runs, 115 RBIs and a .799 OPS in 213 games against the Phillies over the past 16 years. … Friday’s sweep was the Phillies’ first in a nine-inning doubleheader since Sept. 9, 2012, against Colorado. … Sunday’s game will be televised exclusively on Peacock, which is free to Philadelphia-area Comcast subscribers who have X1 boxes. … Zach Eflin (2-4, 3.98 ERA) starts Sunday against Nationals right-hander Jackson Tetreault (0-1, 15.75).