Bryce Harper is slated to return to action soon.
He is reportedly getting closer to running on and off the field with his teammates around him. Due to the fact that minor league seasons are over, unfortunately, Harper cannot go on a traditional rehab assignment to work his way back into game shape. He has been out of action since suffering a knee injury in mid-August. The Nationals are bringing simulated games to him.
The MLB team flew in right-handers Sterling Sharp and Brigham Hill to Atlanta to pitch to him in a simulated game Tuesday afternoon. It’s a smart move by the team. It’s expected that he will need more live at-bats before returning to game action, which is necessary due to the fact that he has not played in a game since Aug. 12.
“It went well. He moved well. He ran pretty good,” Nationals Manager Dusty Baker told the Washington Post. “His timing was off a little, but not too bad … we’ll just have to see how he feels tomorrow. Tomorrow’s the key.”
Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo was standing behind the batting cage while watching Harper complete his workout. Rizzo said the Nationals would make their next decisions about Harper’s future later this week.
“We’ll see how he feels and see how many at-bats he wants to get,” Rizzo said. “We’re going to kind of take it day by day and see what his thoughts are. He’s pretty far behind Harp’s rehab schedule,” Rizzo said. “We’re going to have to see where he’s at and see if we can accelerate the process a little bit.”
However, there are concerns about throwing Harper right back into the lineup due to his injury. This is a regular thing with injured players returning to the game.
“It’s conceivable [that he could be back before the end of the regular season],” Rizzo said. “But we’re going to take it day by day. He’s itching to come back and play. The leg feels good, so that’s positive … if strong enough to play some games and get a lot of at-bats in instructional league, then maybe it’s possible he could come back sometime before the season ends.”
As of this writing, Harper seems likely to return by October, which is something that Nationals expected he would all along. Once Harper returns to the lineup then the Nationals will have their full team as it will complete the bullpen and intact outfield for the first time all season.