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Nationals to place Bryce Harper (knee) on DL

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

Bryce Harper appears headed for the DL for the first time in his young career.
Bryce Harper appears headed for the DL for the first time in his young career. USATSI

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Nationals phenom Bryce Harper has been out of the lineup since May 26 because of bursitis in his left knee -- the result of a collision with the Dodger Stadium wall. Now, the team will place Harper on the 15-day disabled list. CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has confirmed the original report of Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider.

"He's a tough guy, and he would play if at all possible," manager Davey Johnson said of Harper before Friday night's game against the Braves. "But he's too good a talent to take a chance on further injury. So he's not going out there till it's better, that's for dang sure."

On the season, the 20-year-old MVP candidate is batting .287/.386/.587 with 12 home runs in 44 games. Needless to say, he's been missed by a Washington offense that ranks 12th in the NL in runs scored.

The Nats also have Jayson Werth on the DL, which means lately they've been starting an outfield of Denard Span, Tyler Moore and Roger Bernadina. The back-dated move means Harper will be eligible to return to the active roster by June 11, barring setback. Heyman adds that Harper is expected to be ready for activation when eligible.

As Zuckerman notes, once Harper is officially deactivated, the Nats will promote right-handed reliever Erik Davis from Triple-A Syracuse.

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