MLB NOTES: Nationals' Bryce Harper scratched with right knee soreness

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WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals scratched outfielder Bryce Harper from Thursday’s lineup with right knee soreness.

Atlanta reliever Dan Winkler hit Harper just below the right knee in the seventh inning of the Braves’ 8-3 victory on Wednesday. Washington manager Dave Martinez said X-rays on Harper were negative.

“We thought he was going to be OK,” Martinez said. “He was out there trying to get loose this morning, and just couldn’t get loose. It was pretty swollen. So rather than him trying to play through it, we thought the best option would be having him come off the bench if we need him.

“He’s going to stay in and get treatment.”

Harper, the 2015 National League MVP and a six-time All-Star, is hitting .234 with 28 home runs and 71 RBIs. He leads the NL in walks (88) and ranks third in the league in homers.

Michael Taylor replaced Harper in the lineup in center.

Braves starter Sanchez hit by ball, leaves with calf bruise

WASHINGTON — Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez left his start Thursday against the Washington Nationals after getting hit by the ball in the left calf.

The right-hander was hit by Washington outfielder Michael Taylor’s grounder with two outs in the second inning. Sanchez made the throw to first for the out but didn’t return in the bottom of the third inning.

Sanchez pitched two scoreless innings against the Nationals, allowing one hit and striking out one. He was replaced by right-hander Wes Parsons, who made his major league debut.

Sanchez is 6-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 16 games this season. He had gone at least six innings in six consecutive starts.

Dodgers’ Ross Stripling reinstated from disabled list

DENVER — The Los Angeles Dodgers reinstated right-hander Ross Stripling from the 10-day disabled list and he will start Thursday night against the Colorado Rockies.

Stripling missed the last nine games with an inflamed right toe. The All-Star will be making his 17th start of the season. He has an 8-3 record with a 2.68 ERA.

To make room on the roster, the Dodgers optioned pitcher Pat Venditte to Triple-A Oklahoma City. The 33-year-old Venditte allowed four runs over 4 1/3 innings in five appearances.

The Dodgers play four straight against Colorado. Los Angeles is a ½-game behind Arizona in the NL West.

Rockies reinstate left-handed reliever Chris Rusin

DENVER — The Colorado Rockies reinstated lefty Chris Rusin from the 10-day disabled list after the reliever missed time with plantar fasciitis.

Rusin went on the DL on July 24. He also missed time earlier this season with a strained intercostal muscle.

The 31-year-old is 0-2 with a 6.81 ERA in 35 appearances this season. Rusin made a career-high 60 appearances in 2017 and posted a 2.65 ERA.

To make room on the roster, the Rockies optioned right-hander Yency Almonte to Triple-A Albuquerque. Almonte had a 1.00 ERA in seven games spanning two stints with Colorado since he made his major league debut on June 21.

Red Sox move struggling LHP Pomeranz to bullpen

TORONTO — The Boston Red Sox moved struggling left-hander Drew Pomeranz to the bullpen and will keep right-hander Brian Johnson as a starter after ace lefty Chris Sale returns from the disabled list.

Pomeranz, 1-5 with a 6.31 ERA, is winless in eight starts since a May 2 victory over Kansas City. Pomeranz matched a season-worst with five walks in Tuesday’s start at Toronto, leaving after 4 2-3 innings. He has completed more than five innings twice in 11 starts.

Johnson won his second straight start in Wednesday’s victory over Toronto. He’s 3-3 with a 4.00 ERA in 29 games, eight starts.

Sale (mild left shoulder inflammation) threw a bullpen session Thursday and is expected to return Sunday against Baltimore.

Boston has the best record in baseball at 81-34. The Red Sox have won six straight, 10 of 11, and 25 of 30.