PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- At his manager's behest, Bryce Harper stayed back in Viera while the team made the trip to Port St. Lucie on Saturday, nursing a swollen left thumb that he jammed in Friday's game against the Tigers.
Davey Johnson said the left hand issue is nothing serious, and Harper is expected to be back in the lineup on Sunday against the Braves. It occurred on Harper's single to right field in the fourth inning against Detroit starter Drew Smyly. Johnson said he noticed swelling in Harper's hand and took him out early, with the intent to hold him out on Saturday.
"I took him out after two at-bats, though I couldn't believe that ball jammed him. It was a bullet to right," Johnson said. "But he's been getting a lot of reps, a lot of ABs. I was gonna bring him today because I like to watch him play. When I took him out yesterday, it was on my mind not to have him come here. I didn't re-adjust that after I took him out. The trainers didn't talk to me about it, and I forgot about it. But when I saw [his thumb] this morning, I said, 'You're not going.' I scratched him."
The outfielder was scheduled to hit third and play left field, and was replaced by Carlos Rivero, who was penciled in to bat sixth. Tyler Moore slid up from the cleanup spot to No. 3 in the order.
After a Rookie of the Year campaign in 2012, Harper has excelled out of the gates this spring. He's batting .400 through 20 games, with three homers, 12 RBIs and a 1.104 OPS.