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Bryce Harper begins rehab assignment, expects to move around Nationals’ outfield

Jun 24, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

Bryce Harper Getty Getty Images

Out for the past two months with a torn thumb ligament, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper began a minor-league rehab assignment Monday night at Single-A.

Harper singled in his first at-bat and later walked before exiting the game after three innings as planned. He played left field, which is where he’s expected to spend most of his time upon rejoining the Nationals, although Harper could also see some action in center field if the team decides to keep using Ryan Zimmerman occasionally in left field rather than third base.

Zimmerman said Monday that he’d prefer to remain in left field but is willing to play third base if that’s where the Nationals need him. Similarly, Harper said after his first rehab game that he’d prefer to remain in one outfield spot full time but is willing to shift around on a game-by-game basis if the Nationals want it that way instead:

I want to get comfortable in one spot. I got in a little bit of trouble last year playing right field and getting hurt. So I think just trying to stay in one spot would be great. But with the outfield we have, I don’t think that’s going to happen. So being able to play left and play center and play right is something that I need down here.

July 1 is Harper’s expected return date for now, so the Nationals have another week to decide what their plan will be.

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  1. natstowngreg - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    IF no one else gets hurt. It’s unfortunate that one has to say that, but such has been the state of the Nats’ roster this season. Keep that in mind before giving in to the urge to demand that Rizzo trade someone. Also, keep in mind the Dodgers’ outfield “overcrowding,” and the rumors about trading a “surplus” outfielder.

    After Sunday’s game, someone asked Matt Williams, what will it feel like to have your entire 25-man roster available, for the first time this season? Matt diplomatically declined to answer, not wishing to jinx anyone.

    BTW, some of the Nats’ media were tweeting from the P-Nats’ game, watching Harper and Wilson Ramos rehab. Instead of watching the big team play in Milwaukee. Curious priorities.

    • emdash01 - Jun 24, 2014 at 11:15 AM

      For the Post, I think it makes sense – they have two beatwriters covering the team, so they can split up for a while.

      • natstowngreg - Jun 24, 2014 at 7:03 PM

        True, but the Post’s lead reporter, Adam Kilgore, was in beautiful Prince William County, while James Wagner was in Milwaukee. Still a bit odd.

  2. daveeproc - Jun 24, 2014 at 11:59 AM

    Kilgore went to Potomac, Wagner went on the trip. They split the road trips

  3. 461deep - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    Never like shuffling players around often as why weaken several positions rather than 1. W

  4. 461deep - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    Never like shuffling players around often as why weaken several positions rather than 1. Would leave Zim in left, Harper in CF. Look to deal Span for young good fielding OF Sub like Mason Williams type. Maybe Sox Bradley Jr. for Span & prospect. Nats should do better now if Bryce comes back with .280, 12-15 or so HRs, and plays hard but smarter to avoid another injury.
    An O’s-Nats WS not out of the ??? if Davis starts hitting & they get young Bundy back to contribute. Both teams well balanced.

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