Bryce Harper’s rehab assignment tour took him to Bowie, Md., Thursday evening as he joined Double-A Harrisburg for their game against the Baltimore Orioles’ affiliate.
Harper is expected to play eight or nine innings Thursday night before a day off on Friday and, if his left knee responds well, another full rehab game on Saturday. Barring any setbacks in his rehab, Harper is expected to rejoin the Nationals on Monday when they open a homestand against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Nationals had him take his rehab assignment to Bowie because it’s closer to D.C. than Single-A Potomac and the threat of rain in the area. Pfitzner Stadium has long had trouble handling any kind of rain and after Harper was forced to DH because of the potential for rain on Wednesday night, the Nationals want him to be able to run around in the outfield without worry.
It still appears unrealistic that Harper will join the Nationals in New York this weekend, but as long as he comes through the full games OK, it seems his return to the active roster is close.
“I’d like to see him go nine innings,” manager Davey Johnson said Thursday. “Then probably take tomorrow off and go back and play again. Just make sure that everything’s going to stay calmed down.”
Harper, who has not played since May 26 with bursitis in his left knee, played three innings on Tuesday night for Potomac and was the DH for five innings on Wednesday. He came through both games without any setbacks regarding his knee.
He did foul a ball off his right foot in the fifth inning on Wednesday and while he finished the at-bat, he was removed shortly thereafter. Johnson said Harper suffered no ill-effects from the foul ball.
“Bunch of mother hens down there,” Johnson quipped. “Foul a ball off your foot, come out of the game. You kidding me? You’d think he was important or something.”