Jul 1, 2013, 10:18 PM EDT
|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.
NL EAST STANDINGS
TUE: Nats at Rockies, 8:40 p.m.
WED: Nats at Rockies, 3:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
Full season schedule
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
- Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett also wouldn't mind being traded to the Nats
- Healthy Nationals lineup has become NL's best
- Around the NL East: Are the Phillies on the verge of a fire sale?
- Ian Desmond notches five hits, Nats rock Colorado
- Harper sits, Zimmerman in left as Nats face Rockies
- NL East: Lee and Cishek drawing interest on trade market
- Dan Uggla signs with the San Francisco Giants
- Nats fan sports 'Curly W' beard (PHOTO)
- State of the Nats: 9-game road trip begins Monday
- Resurgent Zimmerman leads Nats' potent lineup