Bryce Harper ran the length of the outfield warning track three times — from the right field to left field corner and back — Thursday afternoon while his teammates took batting practice.
Harper has been on the disabled list since Aug. 13 because of a bruised and hyperextended left knee. The Nationals were hopeful at the time that Harper could return in time for the playoffs to start.
Nationals manager Dusty Baker said Wednesday that Harper has hit off a tee and worked in swings during soft toss.
Harper appeared to be running around half speed during his work that was visible to reporters Thursday. After the first leg of his run, he paused to catch his breath in the left field corner where several Atlanta Braves players were throwing in the outfield. One came to give Harper a hug. A trio of others came over to chat.
The Nationals have clinched a postseason spot by winning the National League East Division for the fourth time in six years. The regular season ends Oct. 1. Washington will not start the playoffs until Oct. 6. If Harper wants to play a regular-season game before the postseason, he has just 17 more chances.