Harper went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer and two strikeouts in Tuesday's loss to the Cardinals. Harper delivered the two-run blast -- his 30th of the season -- in the eighth inning to help shave a five-run deficit in the eventual 6-4 defeat. It's just the second time the 25-year-old has reached the 30-home run plateau, and he's showing no signs of slowing down; in 47 at-bats in August, Harper is slashing .340/.436/.723 with five long balls and 10 RBI.
Harper (lower leg) is batting fourth and starting in center field against the Cubs on Friday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Harper was scratched from Thursday's lineup as he dealt with a swollen lower right leg from a hit by pitch Wednesday, although he was available to come of the bench, if needed. The 25-year-old underwent X-rays -- which came back negative -- and should be no worse for wear in Chicago this weekend.
Harper (leg) will be available to pinch-hit off the bench during Thursday's game against Atlanta, Byron Kerr of MASN Sports reports. Manager Dave Martinez said Harper's knee and shin area is "pretty swollen" but that an X-ray came back clean. It wouldn't be surprising to see Harper remain on the bench for Thursday's series finale, but he will likely be back in the starting nine Friday in Chicago when the Nationals face the Cubs in another afternoon matinee.
Harper was scratched from Thursday's lineup after getting hit by a pitch on his leg during Wednesday's contest. Per Jamal Collier of MLB.com, Harper was a little sore following Wednesday's affair, though he did remain in the game after the incident. The outfielder should be considered day-to-day heading into Friday's matinee against the Cubs. In his absence, Michael Taylor was added to the lineup in center field.
Harper went 1-for-4 with a solo home run in Wednesday's 8-3 loss to the Braves. It was his third homer in the last seven games and 28th of the season, as Harper continues to turn around a disappointing campaign. He's hitting .339 (21-for-62) since the All-Star break with five home runs and 17 RBI in 18 games.
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