DAY OF REST FOR PHILS BRYCE HARPER — WHAT’S THE REAL STORY?

By Jackie Miller

Bryce Harper was out of the Phillies starting lineup as he continues to try to shake a 2-for-25 slump with 13 strikeouts in his last seven games with no hits in his last 16 at-bats.

He has been bothered by a sore shoulder that was exacerbated last weekend against the Blue Jays.

“Just a day off,” manager Joe Girardi said.

Harper was not in the starting lineup the day after being lifted early, but he entered after Scott Kingery sustained a concussion and the Phillies had no other bench options. He popped out on a bunt attempt in his first plate appearance, then struck out to end the game.

Following the club’s Monday off-day, however, Harper reclaimed his spot in the starting lineup for Tuesday’s series opener against the Marlins. He had a pair of singles in that one, but he’s 0-for-16 with 10 strikeouts in four games since, including an 0-for-5 effort with three more strikeouts on Saturday.

The latest of those strikeouts came with the game potentially hanging in the balance in the seventh inning. With the Phillies trailing by two and the bases loaded with only one out, Harper struck out looking at a 96 mph fastball over the heart of the plate.

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