Bryce Harper’s return gives Nationals ideal batting order

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Harper was 4 for 11 (.363) while on rehab with Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg, with a double, a triple, a home run, three walks and three RBI.

“I think the first day when I slid into second on the bloop double, when I ran around the bases after that it felt good,” Harper said. “I really pushed it every single game I played. Made a couple diving plays in the outfield and also dove into third and back into first a couple times.

“I didn’t feel it at all and I think really where I was in my head, I was thinking, ‘I’m ready to go, let’s get going.’ … Everything I did out there I did at full force; I made sure to play every single game hard and push my knee to the limit. Nothing really stopped me from playing this game hard.”

Harper will still have to be cognizant of taking care of his knee. He will wear a soft brace under his uniform pants and will have to stay on top of it in the training room with ice and treatment as necessary. He experienced minor swelling during his rehab assignment, he said, but nothing that would set him back or concern him.

Don’t expect to see him playing any differently, though.

“In reading his reports [from rehab], from Day One he hit the field down there in Potomac, he was 100 percent full out,” Johnson said. “I think not only his bat but just the energy that he brings. He takes a lot of the focus and he’s a competitor. Just having that 20-year-old energy running around at 100 percent [will help us].

“I’m sure he’s going to still run into a wall, I’m sure he’s going to dive head-first. He did that on his first day back [in games]. But I don’t want to put a damper on that. That’s who he is and that’s how he plays the game. That’s great.”

NOTES: Wilson Ramos (left hamstring) moved his rehab assignment to Single-A Potomac on Monday, where he was expected to catch seven innings. If all goes well, he will catch nine innings for Potomac on Tuesday and could join Triple-A Syracuse at Lehigh Valley (Pa.) to complete his rehab Wednesday. Johnson is hopeful Ramos will be ready to return to the active roster Thursday. … Ross Detwiler, who experienced some back spasms and stiffness after his last start, threw a bullpen session Monday and came through it well. He is expected to make his regularly scheduled start Wednesday.

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