As the Nationals get set to have Michael Morse back from a strained right lat injury, the Philadelphia Phillies are about to lose Roy Halladay for the same ailment. The Phillies ace was diagnosed on Tuesday and will be sent to the disabled list, he is likely to be out 6-8 weeks.
The Phillies lose Halladay at an inopportune time for the club. They are still without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, their two best position players, and will now not have their best pitcher. The two-time Cy Young winner and eight-time All-Star will be on the DL at a time the Phillies need to stay afloat in the N.L. East.
Halladay is 4-5 on the season with a 3.98 ERA, but has seen his statistics suffer in recent starts. He held a 1.95 ERA entering the month of May, but has unraveled of late. On May 22 he allowed five runs to the Nationals and on May 27 lasted just two innings before being pulled against the Cardinals.
Halladay has not had arm issues in years and hasnt been on the disabled list since 2009. He has won at least 16 games and posted a sub-2.80 ERA each of the last four seasons. The 35-year-old will hope to get back and help Philadelphia sooner than later as the club currently sits last in the N.L. East with a 26-25 record.
Morse has yet to play this season because of the same problem, he has missed 49 games and two months of play. He may have been back earlier, as his strain was discovered in spring training, but the Nationals and Morse tried to come back a little too early and he was shut down by the team in early April. The Phillies would like to be more careful with Halladay, but their situation in the division and playoff race could make him needed sooner.
Bryce Harper struggled by his standards in 2016 and he says he know why it happened last year. While it was rumored last season that he was playing through injuries, Harper never really missed significant time, nor did he really say that his injuries were the reason for his disappointing numbers.
Speaking with the media today at spring training, Harper hinted at his injuries from last season as he said he was just trying to stay in the lineup every day.
Although Harper's statistics dropped off dramatically from his MVP season in 2015, his numbers weren't entirely awful last year. He still hit 24 homers, drove in 86 runs and he had an .814 OPS.
With a full offseason to heal up, Harper will be a prime bounce-back candidate as he looks to help the Nationals win their third NL East title in the last four years.
Related: Sorry D.C. sports fans, Bryce Harper is a Dallas Cowboys fan
The Nationals aren't certain to have ace Max Scherzer ready to pitch for Opening Day. Scherzer, 32, was unable to compete in the World Baseball Classic this summer due to a stress fracture in his right ring finger.
When he spoke to the media today at the first bullpen session of spring training, he said that the fracture has healed but the symptoms continue.
Scherzer also said he'd just started throwing again this week. Manager Dusty Baker confimed that the Nationals don't know whether Scherzer will be ready to start the season.
Any time a team's star pitcher suffers an unusual hand injury, it's cause for concern for the club and fans.
Scherzer won the NL Cy Young Award last season and posted a 20-7 record as a starter. He also led the MLB with 284 strikeouts.
Scherzer is an especially vital part of the Nationals rotation considering the injury history of Stephen Strasburg, who landed on the DL twice last season, once with soreness in the elbow that needed Tommy John surgery in 2010.
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