The Washington Times - June 21, 2013, 06:34PM

The Washington Nationals have laid out a schedule for outfielder Bryce Harper’s potential return to the active roster. If all goes well, Harper will work out with the Nationals through Monday and head to begin a rehab assignment with Single-A Potomac on Tuesday.

Manager Davey Johnson said Friday that Harper, who has not played since May 26 with bursitis in his left knee, has progressed well in his return to activities and he took batting practice in the cages for the second consecutive day. 

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“Knowing Harp, I don’t think he’s going to need much (time on rehab assignment),” Johnson said. “The main thing, it’s not so much the timing as it is just seeing how he feels after playing, and how the knee reacts to being out there for nine innings.” 

The Nationals’ hope is that Harper may need only a handful of rehab games before he feels ready to return.

However, all parties have repeatedly stated their desire not to rush him back, in hopes that he will be able to get past it fully and avoid fear of aggravating it.

According to one person with knowledge of the discussion, one possibility laid out was for Harper to play a rehab game, take a day off, play another and then take another day off to evaluate how his knee feels. If all is well, then he would play back-to-back games, and then rejoin the Nationals.

It is not clear, however, if that is the plan the Nationals are likely to use. And if he feels up for it, the Nationals would certainly like to get their 20-year-old sparkplug back in the lineup. 

Johnson said Harper will wear additional padding to protect the knee when he plays now, to avoid aggravating it when sliding on the bases or in the outfield — which is how it has flared up in the past.