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Sore Harper hopes to start on Thursday

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LOS ANGELES -- Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was limited to a pinch-hit appearance in Wednesday night's 3-1 loss to the Dodgers because he was still sore in the wake of Monday's collision with the right-field wall at Dodger Stadium.

Harper was called on with a runner on second and one out in the ninth inning and grounded out to first base.

Asked how he felt after the game, Harper said, "Terrible."

Harper said the biggest issue he is dealing with is his abdomen. He also had rib cage and knee soreness.

Before the game, Harper was able to do running drills and take batting practice. He wasn't having any problems swinging the bat. In fact, several balls were hit over the fence.

Harper hurt himself in the fifth inning against the Dodgers on Monday night. The Nationals were leading, 6-0, when A.J. Ellis hit a leadoff fly ball to right field. Harper, 20, thought he had more room to make the play, but Harper crashed into the wall face-first and was shaken up on the play. Ellis ended up with a triple.

Harper would leave the game and was nauseous the next day. Johnson is hoping that Harper can start Thursday when the Nationals open a four-game series against the Padres in San Diego.

"He is going to be fine. I wasn't worried about the concussion. He got hit in the chin," Johnson said before Wednesday's game. "He has some aches and pain, but he is young. He will probably be all right today."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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