Harper talked with Nationals Insider Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington following his placement on the disabled list, telling the beat writer he should have been placed on the disabled list following a collision into the Turner Field wall on April 29:
"I think after I hit the wall here, I think I should have went on the DL, just try to get better and came back 15 days later. With a lot of guys out, I wanted to stay in the lineup the way I was swinging it. Of course, I want to play every day. It's something that, maybe I'll learn more in my career to take off 15 days instead of lose the month or whatever it is."
The outfielder bruised his left side attempting to catch a Tim Hudson home run against the Atlanta Braves, but did not miss any playing time. Harper aggravated the injury two weeks later when he slammed into the right field wall at Dodgers Stadium on May 13, a more serious injury that drew national attention.
Harper has struggled offensively since the original injury at Turner Field, hitting .183 with a .665 OPS in his past 19 games. The 20-year-old's overall numbers are still impressive thanks to a scorching start to the season; Harper has hit .287/.386/.587 in 178 plate appearances.
The Nationals hope that the extra time off will help Harper fully heal from the injury, and are hopeful that he can return when he is first eligible on June 11. Washington will miss the outfielder until then, as they are 3-10 without Harper in the lineup this season.