MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Nats: Report on Harper's shoulder inaccurate

Nats: Report on Harper's shoulder inaccurate

MIAMI -- Nationals manager Dusty Baker denied an SI.com report that outfielder Bryce Harper is currently dealing with a sore right shoulder. The skipper said that Harper was not playing a shallow right field in recent games due to throwing issues.

Baker pointed out that Braves third-base coach Bo Porter would have let the Atlanta baserunners take an extra base on Harper last weekend if such an injury existed.

The only negative Baker pointed out was that Harper doesn't have a balanced swing when he is in the batter's box, as Harper is often bailing at the plate. Entering Tuesday's 1-0 loss to the Marlins, Harper, the reigning National League Most Valuable Player, was hitting .220 with five home runs after the All-Star break.

"The story is inaccurate. [The website] asked me about the shoulder problem before, and I gave him four or five days off [last month because of a neck condition]," Baker said. "The website said he was playing shallow because he couldn't throw the ball. That's totally inaccurate. I don't know where they got that from.

"I know they had some quotes from me, but I was talking about the past. … Bryce said the information on the shoulder didn't come from him. It's not in the injury report. We treated that shoulder in the past. If I did make a mistake, it was because it was in his neck, which is connected to the shoulder. That's it."

SI put out a similar report in mid-August about Harper's shoulder problems, but general manager Mike Rizzo denied that he had such an ailment.

According to Rizzo, Harper was getting treatments, such as cupping therapy and an active release technique. Rizzo said he had a low level of concern about Harper's injury.

"The report is wrong," Rizzo said. "I just talked to the player again because of the new stuff that came out, and he says the 4-5 days he had with the neck and that's it."

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.