WASHINGTON (AP) — When Bryce Harper clutched at his left knee after slipping on first base, the stadium went silent and Dusty Baker feared the worst.
Less than a year after watching catcher Wilson Ramos tear the ACL in his right knee on a noncontact play after a rain delay, Baker just hoped it wasn’t that bad. But the uncertainty over Harper’s injury overshadowed the Washington Nationals’ 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night.
Baker said Harper hyperextended the knee and was scheduled to have an MRI.
“The same reaction everybody had – silence goes over the crowd,” Baker said. “You’re just thinking, ‘Please, Lord, don’t let it be serious.'”
Baker went so far as to ask for prayers from baseball fans for the health of one of the sport’s top players and a potential NL MVP candidate. Harper, the 2015 MVP who is hitting .326 with 29 home runs and 87 RBIs as the most fearsome hitter in the league this season, was not made available to speak to reporters after the game but could be seen walking with a limp.
The injury came as it was raining about 20 minutes into the game after a three-hour delay. Harper tried to run out a grounder to the right side and though he avoided colliding with first baseman Ryder Jones or Giants pitcher Jeff Samardzija, he slipped on first base, which was still wet.
“It didn’t look good,” Jones said. “I hope he’s all right. It’s just one of those freak plays where you kind of thought there would be a collision and there wasn’t and that might be part of it, too.”
The result of the game meant little for Washington, which leads the NL East by 14