The Washington Times - June 23, 2013, 06:49PM

Bryce Harper took batting practice on the field at Nationals Park Sunday morning for the first time since he’s been cleared to resume activities. But the Washington Nationals’ outfielder’s rehab assignment will not begin on Tuesday as manager Davey Johnson had initially hoped.

“He’s going to work out here (Monday) and then probably do the same thing on Tuesday,” Johnson said after the Nationals’ 7-6 loss to the Rockies. 

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That means the earliest harper would begin a minor league rehab assignment would be Wednesday — which is closer to the timeline the 20-year-old hinted at on Saturday.

Harper said he would ideally likely to play six or seven games while rehabbing in order to not only test his left knee and ensure the swelling in it stays down, but also to regain his timing.

Johnson would prefer a shorter rehab assignment, so long as the bursitis in his knee is no longer an issue. He altered that stance some on Sunday, though.

“It’s just on how he feels,” Johnson said. “He wants to be 100 percent, help the club. The thing is, we don’t want him to start playing and then it puffs up, and then he has to shut it down. He swung the bat good (Sunday) in BP.”

Harper’s batting practice session was actually quite unique. While the ballpark is generally a quiet and mostly empty on Sunday mornings, hordes of fans lined up outside the center field gate early on this day because the team was giving out Bryce Harper bobblehead dolls to the first 15,000 fans.

That made the park fairly full as Harper sprayed line drives and crushed home runs — including a few into the upper deck in right field. Fans cheered each swing, and when he was done they gave him a rousing ovation. 

“Well that felt unreal! #BP #Lovethefans” Harper tweeted later.