Bryce Harper avoided ligament tear in baserunning injury; no timetable for return

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Washington is a head-turning 14.5 games ahead of the Miami Marlins in the National League East and appears comfortably on its way to the postseason. For now, the best thing to do is like Nats manager Dusty Baker said: pray.

Harper is under contract through next season and can be a free agent in the winter of 2018.

"I'm asking for prayers that it's not serious", Baker said.

Harper fell to the ground and held his left knee for several minutes.

The start of the game was delayed three hours, one minute by rain Saturday and there was a light rain in the first inning. It's been a long year for the Giants who have been struggling since after the 2016 All Star game and have done so in 2017 and the National League West is not a division to struggle in.

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Despite soggy conditions and a considerable amount of water on the field, San Francisco and Washington wound up commencing their three-game series past 10 p.m. local time on Saturday night.

Even though first baseman Ryan Zimmerman is having an All-Star season, Washington's title hopes hinge largely on Harper's health.

Rookie Andrew Stevenson came on to play center field in the second and Brian Goodwin moved from center to right.

Because of a bevy of injuries, the Nationals have used 12 outfielders this season. He'll be placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday and his status moving forward will likely depend on how quickly the bone bruise heals.

Harper has been placed on the disabled list and there is no timetable for his return, but his prognosis is nearly certainly better than the worst fears from Saturday night. The good thing is he's young and strong.