Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/11/14
Nationals-stephen
The Nationals heard it all last season when it came to their handling of Stephen Strasburg, who was placed on an innings limit and subsequently shut down before the playoffs. The Nats babied the 24-year-old, they upset the ace and they ruined their season, which once looked so promising. Now, eight months later, the Nationals are faced with a bit of a health situation involving their other superstar, Bryce Harper, who ran into a wall at Dodger Stadium during Monday’s game. The whole situation involving Harper hardly matches the magnitude of the Strasburg debate, which started early last season and lingered through October and into the offseason, but the dichotomy between the two predicaments is interesting. Tests apparently indicated that Harper didn’t suffer a concussion — and he’s in Thursday’s lineup — yet it’s hard to dismiss the whole incident because of what we’ve heard since the collision. Harper looked dazed, had no idea where he was and has thrown out words like, “crappy,” “terrible” and “carsick” when describing how he’s felt over the last few days. This isn’t to say the Nationals are lying about Harper, but for a young player who goes full steam on every play and who has a tendency to be candid with the media, shouldn’t some red flags be raised? Shouldn’t Harper’s status be handled carefully rather than simply chalking it up as him getting his bell rung? The obvious answer is, “yes,” but manager Davey Johnson‘s comments don’t exactly suggest that there is a great deal of alarm when it comes to Harper’s status. “I wasn’t worried about the concussion. He got hit on the chin,” Johnson said. “Nobody gets a concussion from getting hit on the chin. You might get knocked out. You don’t usually get a concussion from that. He’s got a few aches and pains, but he’s young. He’ll probably be alright [Wednesday].” Maybe Harper really is OK, and delving deeper into the topic is thus a waste of oxygen. It’s just hard to overlook the whole Harper situation, especially knowing the criticism the Nationals faced last season for being too “soft” with their other superstar. If the Nationals truly wanted to shed their “soft” label and become a team more synonymous with characteristics such as, “gritty,” “tough” and “driven,” wouldn’t handling their 20-year-old phenom in an old-time baseball sort of way help do the trick? (Get up and dust yourself off, kid. We’ve got a division to win.) Again, maybe this is reading too much into Harper’s comments about not feeling quite right. It’s just ironic that the Nationals are steadfast on his injury being nothing serious despite his comments, whereas last season’s oft-criticized shutdown of Strasburg came regardless of the right-hander feeling 100 percent fine physically. If the Nationals are trying to adopt a tougher culture, risking the health of one of the franchise’s cornerstones — when he’s actually banged up and not the victim of some ill-advised innings limit — isn’t the way to go about it. Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jon Jones thinks he can beat Cain Velasquez

Larry Bird jokes about pose of Dominique Wilkins’ statue

Barry Switzer urged Cowboys to draft Murray with great quote

SF Giants file brief in support of gay marriage to Supreme Court

Jay Cutler available to teams in trade

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brian Hoyer praises Johnny Manziel for checking into rehab

Dockett: I would have signed with Cardinals for less money

Report: Darrelle Revis' decision to come down to Patriots, Jets

Maurice Jones-Drew announces his retirement from NFL

Ndamukong Suh is biggest prize, risk in free agency

Associated Press will have 'robots' writing game stories

Five areas the Eagles must address this offseason

WATCH: Craig Sager emotional in warm welcome back to TNT

Likeliest landing spots for Ndamukong Suh

Tigers pitcher Alfredo Simon drives a chrome Mercedes

WATCH: Ronda Rousey breaks guy's ribs who doubts her ability

Michelle Beadle’s campaign to be cast in ‘Sharknado 3′ pays off

Ten teams who have tightened the belt

Dodgers will have a tough time dumping Andre Ethier

Brian Cashman: Derek Jeter should be final Yankees captain

Tom Brady, Rory McIlroy to play round at Augusta National

No one knows who will win the 2014-15 NBA MVP

Giants TE on plane that slid off runway in New York

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Larry Bird trash talks Dominique Wilkins’ statue

Likeliest landing spots for Suh

Jay Cutler available to teams in trade

Ronda Rousey breaks guy's ribs

Ten teams who have tightened the belt

Mayweather waited for Pacquiao to get old, right?

Maurice Jones-Drew announces his retirement from NFL

Ndamukong Suh is biggest prize, risk in free agency

AP will have 'robots' writing game stories

Manning officially returning to Broncos

No one knows who will win the MVP

Pop rips notion of NBA Finals in July

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.