The Nationals have spent much of the season with a big lead in the National League East, so much of the focus has been on getting as many of their injured players as possible healthy for October.
The recent news hasn’t been encouraging.
Right fielder Bryce Harper, who hasn’t played since suffering a hyperextended left knee Aug. 12, might be the biggest concern. As recently as the last week of August, Harper hadn’t been able to start running.
While the Nationals have remained hopeful Harper will return, he said the calendar isn’t working in his favor.
“I think it’s going to take some time to get going, of course,” Harper said. “We don’t have much.”
Infielder Stephen Drew is also battling the calendar. Drew strained a lower abdominal muscle in late July, and it looks as if he eventually will need surgery. The question is how much he’ll be able to play before that.
“I’m trying to figure out if I can play with it, to get it to where the pain is not too much,” Drew said. “If not, I might have to go another route and miss the rest of the season.”
The Nationals had a health concern allayed when pitcher
Stephen Strasburg returned from the disabled list with three starts in which he allowed two runs in 21 innings. The best came Aug. 30, when he threw a six-hit, complete-game shutout vs. the Marlins and hit a home run.