NEW YORK — Despite the heavy rain that pounded much of the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area on Friday afternoon, Washington Nationals outfielder was scheduled to take batting practice and workout in Bowie, Md. with Double-A Harrisburg.
Harper will not play, even if the team does, however, as Friday is a day off in his rehab assignment schedule. He is expected to play with Harrisburg again on Saturday and, despite the indication that manager Davey Johnson may like to activate him earlier, Harper is expected to rejoin the Nationals on Monday.
The good news is that Harper has played three straight games and the bursitis in his left knee has not acted up.
“The punishment he’s been giving (his knee), diving back into bags, having to hustle first-to-third, a triple, he’s done just about everything and has been going full-speed,” Johnson said on Friday afternoon.
“There’s been no noticeable swelling in that area. I was only concerned about the first couple of days, because if it was going to act up, it was going to act up then. Obviously his timing (at the plate) is pretty good.”
The Nationals would obviously like to have Harper back on the active roster just as soon as he feel comfortable, but while Johnson initially took a little bit of a tougher stance on how long Harper’s rehab assignment would last, he reiterated Friday that it’s up to Harper and how he feels.
“If (five or six games is) what he felt like he needed and there’s been no repercussions with the knee, there’s no sense in speeding that up,” Johnson said. “We always want to do what’s best for the player, No. 1. I think that’s the plan he came up with and we’re all comfortable with.”
Harper will get an opportunity to face major league pitching on Saturday, though, as Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie as he works back from an oblique strain.
– Wilson Ramos took a significant step in his own rehab from a strained left hamstring when he played three innings for the Nationals’ Gulf Coast League affiliate on Friday.
Ramos, who has not played for the Nationals since May 15, is expected to play five innings in the GCL again on Saturday, take Sunday off and then join one of the Nationals’ more local minor league affiliates to continue his rehab.
It does not sound like Ramos will need a significant amount of rehab games before the Nationals deem him ready to return.
“I think he’s in his seventh week,” Johnson said. “At the end of this week, I think he’ll be close to 50 days of rehab. So I think he should be pretty good.
“I know he’s doing a lot of running drills, catching bullpens. Every report I get, he feels great. He just needs to get some at-bats and he should be good to go.”
The Nationals have taken an ultra-conservative approach with Ramos’ rehab this time around as it is the second time he’s strained his left hamstring this season. He returned after the first strain in just the minimum 15 days, but almost a month to the day after his initial strain, he injured it again.