Feb 18, 2014, 3:56 PM EDT
VIERA, Fla. — Bryce Harper reported to Nationals camp Tuesday along with the club’s other position players, then quickly diffused much of any concern that lingered about the state of his surgically repaired left knee.
Harper participated fully during the optional afternoon workout inside Space Coast Stadium, taking a full round of batting practice and looking every bit like the young slugger who made a mockery of the Grapefruit League one year ago.
“He looks good,” manager Matt Williams said. “He participated with everything today. We’ll monitor him, of course, like we talked about, see how he is tomorrow. He looks good. He’s ready to go.”
Harper had surgery in late-October to debride and repair the bursa sac in his left knee, an injury that plagued him through most of the 2013 season and restricted him to 118 games. By all accounts, he was expected to be fully healed for the start of spring training, though the 21-year-old raised some doubt last month when he suggested he might not be ready for the first day of camp.
“I’m trying to get back to full strength,” Harper said Jan. 25 at NatsFest. “I’m trying to see where I can get by [the start of] spring training, and if I can go through spring training and get to 100 percent by the time the season starts.”
The Nationals will continue to monitor Harper throughout the spring and may tell him to ease up or even take a day off if they feel it’s necessary. They’ll also keep tabs on his overall physical shape after Harper bulked up a bit over the winter, hoping to combat the weight he lost over the course of a long year.
“With what happened after last season, with the surgery of the knee, he’s got to be mindful of that,” Williams said. “We also have to be mindful of him during spring and make sure that we monitor his progress. But I don’t see any issues with it.”
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