Bryce Harper is very close to returning to play on a full-time basis.
He is reportedly getting closer to running on and off the field with his teammates around him. He has been out of action since suffering a knee injury in mid-August.
The Nationals are bringing simulated games to him. 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.
Harper was out of the Washington Nationals' starting lineup Thursday night due to him feeling that his knee was sore. The injury has sidelined him for about a quarter of the season.
Nationals manager Dusty Baker wanted to make one thing perfectly clear, which is "Don't be alarmed," he said. The Nationals ended up earning a 5-4 win over Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday. After the game, Baker noted that nothing new cropped up with Harper, who hyperextended his left knee.
"We decided it would be best to give him the day off," Baker said, "and then he'll try to play through the weekend."
Baker noted that he expects Harper to play against the Pirates in the final three games of the regular season, which is great news. The Superstar was taken off of the disabled list Tuesday and played that day and Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies, going 1-for-6 with a walk.
"I've felt pretty good. Body feels good," Harper said. "A little sore today [after] playing two in a row. Just trying to get in there and be healthy," Harper said. "I feel good right now. And if I can just keep going and do the things I need to do to get ready for the postseason, we'll get there."
"Each day that goes by is another day that he can get sharp and well. I already think he's well, but he's got to get sharp," Baker said. I don't see any limps. I don't see him stumble when he turns and pivots to make a throw. He looked really good," the manager added.
"You wouldn't know that he's been out a period of time, other than his timing on missing some balls, on missing the bat head, which is to be expected."
The Nationals are set to host Game 1 of its NL Division Series against the Chicago Cubs on October 6th.