Bill Ladson

Robinson gives good effort in Harper's place

Robinson gives good effort in Harper's place

LOS ANGELES -- Missing right fielder Bryce Harper came back to haunt the Nationals during a 5-0 loss to the Dodgers on Tuesday night.

Harper did not play in the game because of a sore left knee, so the Nationals used Clint Robinson in right field.

The Nationals were down, 2-0, and the Dodgers had the bases loaded with two out against Joe Ross in the fifth inning. Yasiel Puig, who already had a two-run homer in the game, came to the plate and hit a blooper to right field. Robinson made a diving attempt for the ball, but the ball fell in and past him for a three-run triple to make it a five-run game.

Asked if Robinson should have caught the ball, Nationals manager Matt Williams said, "He is not our normal right fielder, for sure. He gave it every effort, but almost got it, just out of his reach."

Robinson, a first baseman by trade, said the ball died on him as he was trying to make the catch.

"I had a chance to catch the ball. That's why I tried to slide for it and make the catch. I just couldn't get there," Robinson said.

As for Harper, there is no guarantee that he will be back in the lineup on Wednesday. He has a bone bruise in his left knee, which he injured against the Dodgers on Monday night. Harper said the injury didn't get any better after Tuesday's loss to the Dodgers. The healing could take some time.

"I'm going day by day. We'll see how it feels tomorrow. If I can get back in tomorrow, I will. If not, hopefully, I'll get back in there in San Francisco [on Thursday]," Harper said.

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