MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Stiff neck keeps Bryce on sideline for 3rd straight game

Stiff neck keeps Bryce on sideline for 3rd straight game

WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was not in the starting lineup Wednesday for the third consecutive game because of a stiff neck.

After the off-day on Thursday, manager Dusty Baker hopes to get Harper back in the lineup on Friday night against the Braves. Baker insisted there is nothing wrong with Harper other than having neck issues.

"It the same. It's a spasm. [The trainers] have tried to alleviate it, and it hasn't worked yet," Baker said. "So we'll just do what we have to do. Don't assume that it's worse than what I've told you, because it's not. Not that I know of; I'm not a doctor."

Not only is Harper dealing with a neck injury, he is in a slump. Since the All-Star break, Harper is 9-for-67 (.134) with one home run and five RBIs.

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 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.