Harper out 'a few days' with injured left thumb

X-rays negative on All-Star outfielder; Murphy remains out with strained buttocks

Harper out 'a few days' with injured left thumb

WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper's X-rays came back negative on his left thumb, a bit of encouraging news for a Nationals' team suddenly dealing with a few injuries to key players.

Although Harper did not play in Monday's 14-4 loss to the D-backs, manager Dusty Baker said he expects Harper, who is listed as day to day, to return in time for the playoffs.

"I was just glad that the X-rays were negative," Baker said. "He could be back within a couple days, a few days. That's big right there. The swelling's down, so I think his strength is up, I heard. It's very positive. We still got time for him to get well."

Harper injured his thumb sliding into third base Sunday in Pittsburgh, deked by a fake tag from Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang. Harper described the thumb as jammed, similar to an injury playing basketball.

It left Washington without Harper and second baseman Daniel Murphy in the middle of its lineup on Monday, then the team might have lost catcher Wilson Ramos, who left the game with a right knee injury.

Ramos leaves game after injury

Murphy, who has not played since last Tuesday at Miami with a strained buttocks, is still shut down, although he did some light jogging around the field during pregame and has still made sure to hit, since he doesn't feel any pain while swinging. But when asked Monday, Baker said he does still expect Murphy to be ready for the postseason.

"It's a toss-up between at-bats and him getting extra days to get healthy and get well," Baker said. "Which ones are more important: his legs to get healthy or his at-bats and are we risking that leg by pushing too early? Murph knows himself, and Murphy has a strong mind. I'm just glad that we shut Murph down when we did, and we had the luxury to shut Murphy down because if he would've played any longer he probably would have been out for the entire postseason."

Worth noting

• Left-hander Sammy Solis was activated from the disabled list Monday after missing the past month with inflammation in his left shoulder. Solis threw about 25 pitches each during two simulated games at the team's Spring Training facility in Florida during the weekend. Provided Solis can return to form before his injury, when he carried a 2.35 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings, he could be a huge addition to Washington's bullpen.

"We got seven games to get me in there a few times hopefully," Solis said. "Get some game experience and get me back on track for the postseason."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.