Jul 1, 2013, 10:18 PM EST
|Photo by USA Today|
After more than a month of rehab from left knee bursitis, including four games with minor league affiliates, Bryce Harper is finally back starting in left field and hitting third in the Nationals lineup.
Harper will be wearing padding on his left knee for precautionary reasons, but feels ready to jump right in and give the Nats whatever boost he can as they commence the season’s second half.
“It’s tough to be out, but I’m glad that I’m back and I’m ready to go,” Harper said. “I feel strong enough to be out there and play full-force and I’m ready to get going.”
Manager Davey Johnson said it felt like longer than just five or so weeks since Harper has been out.
“I saw him around two o’clock and I went in there and said ‘is that really you, are you okay, you ready to go?’ He shook my hand and said ‘yea, I’m ready.’ It seemed like I hadn’t seen him in half a year.”
With Harper back, Johnson said he doesn’t plan on bringing him along slowly or asking him to change anything about his approach. Johnson is looking for the same old Harper.
“I think part of it is his bat, but just the energy he brings. He takes a lot of the focus and he’s a competitor,” Johnson said.
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- How much will the Nationals miss LaRoche?
- Report: Yankees tried to trade for Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins
- A reason for each MLB team to be thankful this Thanksgiving
- Who's better right now?
- Point/Counterpoint: Biggest threat in NL East in 2015?
- Nats' Fedde hits milestone in Tommy John recovery
- Charlie Manuel almost returned to baseball as O's hitting coach
- How much money can the Nats spend this winter?
- With Hamels trade rumors, Phillies are staying patient
- MLB postseason shares released, including Nats