Harper eyes weekend return; Kelley to DL

Harper eyes weekend return; Kelley to DL

PHILADELPHIA -- Bryce Harper still felt sore when he arrived to Citizens Bank Park on Friday, a day after he exited Thursday's 4-2 victory over Arizona with tightness in his groin. Manager Dusty Baker had planned to exercise caution and sit Harper regardless Friday, and he hopes to have his right fielder back in the lineup at some point this weekend.

Harper injured himself making a diving catch in the top of the third inning Thursday, although he stayed in the game until the sixth inning. He is still day to day.

The Nationals' top-ranked offense will have to get by without Harper for now, as Chris Heisey replaces him in right field.

Harper has been off to an excellent start this season, hitting .376 with nine homers and leading the Majors with a .504 on-base percentage. And he is missing a game at one of his most productive venues, Citizens Bank Park, where Harper has a .988 OPS with 12 homers in his career, his most at a visiting ballpark in the Majors.

Harper's sensational grab

Worth noting

• The Nationals placed right-hander Shawn Kelley on the disabled list, retroactive to Tuesday, with a lower back strain.

Kelley, who had not pitched since April 29, had been unavailable the previous few games with a sickness and then his back locked up on him earlier in the day Friday. He realized he would likely remain unavailable for the next few days, so the team placed him on the DL for the time being. Left-hander Matt Grace has been promoted from Triple-A Syracuse to take his place.

"I was a little stiff today," Kelley said. "Tried to kind of heat it up to see how I was feeling and see if I had my strength back. [My] back didn't want to do it."

It is unclear who will step into the closer's role in Kelley's absence. Left-hander Enny Romero secured his first career save Thursday afternoon, and Matt Albers secured his first career save Friday as Baker navigates through the Nats' struggling relievers and as the team has played shorthanded the previous few games.

Albers' first career save

• Baker said he does not expect right-hander Koda Glover (hip) to be activated from the disabled list Saturday on the first day he is eligible. Baker said Glover had an extensive workout Thursday and still wants him to throw a couple bullpen sessions before he returns.

"You don't want him to go out there and not be sharp," Baker said. "So you'd rather take a little extra time and make sure that he's sharp and also make sure that when he goes out there that he's not going to return to the DL anytime soon."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.