Bryce Harper can’t return soon enough for Nationals

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He hit .193 with four extra-base hits in the 17 games he played from that point until May 26. After the collision in L.A., though, his playing time was intermittent as he worked to cope with the pain.

“I thought hopefully my body could have got past it,” Harper said when the Nationals placed him on the disabled list. “After I hit the wall [in Atlanta], I think I should have went on the DL, just try to get better and came back 15 days later. With a lot of guys out, I wanted to stay in the lineup the way I was swinging it.

“Of course, I want to play every day. It’s something that, maybe I’ll learn more in my career to take off 15 days instead of lose the month of whatever it is. … If we’re in September, October, I’m going to play. I wouldn’t be sitting out. It’s just one of those things where you’ve got to be smart about what you do.”

The Nationals seem to plan on having Harper back soon. Rizzo said Sunday there was “no worry” about Harper’s second opinion revealing any structural issues in the knee and that the visit was strictly “protocol.”

Their actions also indicate an impending return. When the team optioned Moore to Triple-A on Sunday night, Johnson cited getting Harper back as one reason why the Nationals decided to do it now. They called up Chris Marrero to take over the role as a backup first baseman, and with Harper coming back Johnson said he didn’t envision having much playing time left for Moore in the coming days and weeks.

“The swelling was significantly less when I saw him and the doctor likes the progress,” Rizzo said. “We’re upbeat about it. We’ll see where it takes us.”

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