Harper texts, talks way into Saturday lineup

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper isn’t resting this weekend, after all.

Davey Johnson said after Friday night’s game he was probably going to give the struggling outfielder a couple of days off.

Harper changed his manager’s mind with a light-hearted text later that night.

“In his text he said ‘Play me or trade me,’” Johnson said Saturday. “And so since trading’s out of the question I guess I’m going to play him.”

Johnson laughed when he read the text and sent Harper a text to come in and see him Saturday. The two met before the Nationals were scheduled to play the San Diego Padres.

“It was a good conversation and he’s in the lineup,” Johnson said.

Since returning from the disabled list and homering in his first at-bat Monday night against Milwaukee, Harper has gone 0 for 18. He was 0 for 4 with a sacrifice fly in Friday night’s 8-5 win over San Diego.

Johnson based his initial decision on some body language he was seeing from Harper on Friday night.

“I explained to him a lot of times body language I see is somebody maybe who’s mentally beat up or tired physically, and I said ‘I can’t imagine you ever being either one of those,’” Johnson said of his talk with Harper.

Also, the Nationals manager said starting pitcher Ross Detwiler was having discomfort in his back when he threw his bullpen session and is questionable for his scheduled Monday start at Philadelphia.

Starting pitcher Dan Haren (shoulder inflammation) is coming off the disabled list Monday and Johnson said he could make the start if needed.

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