The Washington Times - June 11, 2012, 03:30PM

TORONTO — After a one day absence, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper returned to the starting lineup Monday afternoon in Toronto. Harper, who pinch hit, walked and scored from first on a double to bring home the winning run in the Nationals’ 4-3 victory over the Red Sox on Sunday, has been nursing a sore back.

Harper insists it is a non-issue, no worse than any of the other various bumps and bruises the players go through over the course of a season. Until Sunday it hadn’t cost him any playing time, and, if it was up to him, it never would have cost him that. Manager Davey Johnson made the decision to hold him out of the starting lineup.


At any rate, Harper is back for the team’s series opener against the Blue Jays. And that’s good news for the Nationals because they’re hitting almost 20 points higher as a team (.247 compared to .229) with Harper in the lineup. 

Steve Lombardozzi also returns to left field and Roger Bernadina, who hit the game-winning double on Sunday, gets a second straight start in center field. 

They’ll all have to deal with right-hander Brandon Morrow who is putting together a fine season for the Blue Jays. Morrow, who came to Toronto from Seattle in 2009 as part of the Mariners’ trade for Brandon League, is 7-3 with a 2.90 ERA and a league-leading three complete game shutouts. 

Here are the full lineups:


Steve Lombardozzi LF
Bryce Harper RF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Michael Morse DH
Ian Desmond SS
Danny Espinosa 2B
Roger Bernadina CF
Jesus Flores C
— Edwin Jackson P 

Blue Jays

Brett Lawrie 3B
Colby Rasmus CF
Jose Bautista RF
Edwin Encarnacion DH
Kelly Johnson 2B
Yunel Escobar SS
David Cooper 1B
J.P. Arencibia C
Rajai Davis LF