Continued from page 1

“It’s been a grind,” Desmond said. “But I want to be that example, like, hey, you can fight back. I’ve done it before and I hope to do it again this year.”

The key is Harper. His thumb injury cost him months and despite a strong rehab stint at Double-A Harrisburg, his return to the majors hasn’t gone well. But if he finds his swing, it changes the entire lineup and will take some pressure off the Washington starters and bullpen. But he is 5-for-37 with two extra-base hits in July. That slump has to end.

“[Harper] is a big bat for us,” Zimmermann said. “We’re happy he’s back. It’s one of the best lineups in baseball and pitchers are going to have a hard time with us.”