Updates from Monday, June 30
MLB Roster Moves confirmed Bryce Harper's return to the Nationals:
The @Nationals reinstate OF Bryce Harper from 15-day DL; option LHP Xavier Cedeno to Triple-A Syracuse.— MLBRosterMoves (@MLBRosterMoves) June 30, 2014
Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington passed along Harper's return to the lineup:
Updates from Friday, June 27
The Nationals' official Twitter feed has the latest on Harper's rehab:
#Nats Manager Matt Williams said OF Bryce Harper will play nine innings in CF today for Double-A Harrisburg.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 27, 2014
SportsCenter reported on Harper's performance in a Double-A rehab assignment:
Bryce Harper has THREE home runs tonight in Double-A on rehab assignment. Nationals hope he will return to big leagues early next week.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 29, 2014
Updates from Thursday, June 26
Dan Kolko of MASN Sports provides an update on Bryce Harper's status:
Bryce Harper will play 7 inn. in RF with Double-A Harrisburg tonight, 9 in CF tomorrow, 9 in LF Sun. Could rejoin #Nats as early as Monday.— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) June 26, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, June 25
MLB.com passed along video of Bryce Harper's home run against Salem:
Updates from Tuesday, June 24
Daniel Popper of MLB.com has the latest on Harper:
For the first time since tearing a ligament in his left thumb nearly two months ago, Bryce Harper stepped to the plate Monday night batting second in a rehab start for Class A Advanced Potomac. On the first pitch he saw from Salem Red Sox right-hander Justin Haley in the first inning, the left-handed slugger took a massive cut and whiffed for strike one.
"I went up there hacking on my first pitch to try to just get that out of the way because I was so excited to hit again," said Harper, who started in left field. "Just that competitive nature going out there."
Harper worked himself back into the count in that first at-bat, and on a 2-2 count, he smacked a line drive the opposite way to left field for a single and took a grandiose turn around first base. Harper would get up again in the third inning and fall behind 0-2, but he battled back to work a two-out walk. Harper played three innings and finished the night 1-for-1.
"I just want to see pitches," Harper said. "So if I can work deep in counts and see more pitches, then that's huge for me. If I strike out or walk, then that's fine, too, because I just want to see a lot of pitches."
Updates from Monday, June 23
The Washington Nationals announced the latest step in Bryce Harper's recovery after surgery:
#Nats OF Bryce Harper will begin a rehab assignment with Single-A Potomac tonight, and C Wilson Ramos will move his rehab to Potomac as well— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 23, 2014
Updates from Saturday, June 21
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has the latest on Harper's recovery:
#Nationals' Bryce Harper cleared to play by doctor. Will begin rehabilitation assignment at Class A Potomac.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 21, 2014
Updates from Friday, June 20
ESPN.com has the latest on Harper:
Nationals slugger Bryce Harper showed plenty of pop Thursday in his first on-field batting practice since undergoing ligament surgery on his left thumb last month.
"Honestly, we almost ran out of baseballs," manager Matt Williams said. "Between he and Wilson (Ramos), whoever gets in the park first today and goes to the outfield will have lots of souvenirs."
Williams said Harper will begin a minor league rehab assignment after the Nationals begin a road trip next week.
"I'm still trying to see where my swing's at. ... I don't see myself coming back after five games or four games," Harper said. "I really want to push it and see how I feel after eight, nine games down there. If I feel good before that, then I'll see where I'm at."
Updates from Tuesday, June 17
Bryce Harper took his first two-handed swings since surgery on his thumb, and manager Matt Williams discussed his status and recovery (via Chase Hughes of NatsInsider.com):
Today he took some swings in the cage. He’ll continue to do that and I think we’ll get him on the field in the next few days and see where he’s at. He feels good, sat with him today and talked to him about how he’s feeling and how he’s doing. He feels ready to go, to take the next step. ...
... You don’t know how it’s really going to react. We’ll see how he steps things up and when he’s ready to go. Beyond July 1st, it’s probably somewhere we can say that if it all goes well it’s kind of the timeframe. But we’ll have to see how it goes.
Updates from Satruday, June 14
James Wagner of the Washington Post provides an update on Bryce Harper's status:
Bryce Harper (thumb) will pick up a bat & take light swings & play catch for first time next week, per Williams. No BP yet; he's easing in.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) June 14, 2014
Updates from Thursday, June 5
Dan Kolko of MASN spoke to Bryce Harper, who commented on a timeline for his return from an injured thumb:
Bryce Harper says he isn't setting a timetable for his return from thumb injury. Will be back when he's healthy enough to be back.— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) June 5, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, June 4
CSN's Mark Zuckerman has the latest on Harper:
“We don’t know yet, but I’d like to see him back by the 1st of July,” manager Matt Williams said Wednesday. “I think that would be a good target, but we just don’t know. It depends on how everything else goes.”
Out since he tore a ligament in his left thumb on April 26, Harper has begun some preliminary on-field work the last two days. He’s not yet cleared to catch throws or take swings, but he has been scooping up groundballs hit to the outfield and then throwing them back to a coach.
It’s still unclear when Harper will be cleared for full workouts on the field. Team officials clearly are being cautious with the recovering young slugger.
“It’s not time yet,” Williams said. “He’s itching, he’s pacing. But that’s one of those things where he’s 21 years old. If it doesn’t heal right, it can affect him long-term. So we want to make sure he’s good before he’s able to get back out here.”
Updates from Monday, May 12
Dan Kolko of MASN has the latest information regarding Bryce Harper's thumb injury:
Bryce Harper got the stitches out of his thumb today. Still not ready for real rehab stuff, but "he can take a shower" Matt Williams joked.— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) May 12, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, April 30
Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan had the latest on Bryce Harper:
Mike Rizzo on Bryce Harper's timetable: "In two months we should have Harp back." #Nats— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) April 30, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, April 29
Bryce Harper updated fans on his status following surgery via his Twitter account:
On the road to recovery..Everything went great and I'll be back soon! Thank you to all the fans for the support! pic.twitter.com/66Wn7sxHQ9— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) April 29, 2014
Updates from Monday, April 28
Keith Law of ESPN reported that Bryce Harper will have surgery to repair his left thumb:
Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper will undergo surgery Tuesday to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb and is expected to be out until at least early July, according to multiple sources.
Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post tweeted that Harper was getting a second opinion:
Bryce Harper's second-opinion visit to a specialist in Cleveland is taking place this afternoon. Nats won't have results until this evening.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) April 28, 2014
Updates from Sunday, April 27
Bryce Harper has been placed on the disabled list, the Washington Nationals announced:
The #Nationals have placed OF Bryce Harper on 15-Day DL, retro to Apr. 26, with a left thumb sprain & recalled OF Steven Souza Jr. from SYR.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 27, 2014
Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post reports Harper still needs to seek another opinion to determine the extent of his thumb injury after undergoing an MRI and visiting a hand specialist:
Harper will see another doctor for a second opinion, according to a person familiar with the situation, which should determine the full nature of Harper’s injury and how long it will keep him out. “Doesn’t look good,” the person said.
After Harper visited with a hand specialist Saturday at Nationals Park, the doctor ordered an MRI and the Nationals feared Harper may have suffered ligament damage. Television cameras spotted Harper wearing a small cast on his hand during the Nationals’ 4-0 victory over the Padres.
William Ladson of MLB.com previously provided the Nationals' lineup for Sunday:
Updates from Saturday, April 26
The Nationals' Twitter feed reports that Harper is out for Saturday's game:
Dan Kolko of MASN has more on the outfielder's injury:
Harper will see a hand specialist today. Likely available off the bench. No word on long-term outlook yet but #Nats say early tests are good— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) April 26, 2014
Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post reports that the outfielder will undergo an MRI on his thumb:
Bryce Harper getting an MRI on his thumb.— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) April 26, 2014
This wouldn't have happened if Bryce Harper hadn't been taken out of that game by manager Matt Williams.
Less than a week after Williams benched Harper for not hustling out a ground ball, the Washington Nationals star appeared to injure his wrist after diving into third base on a triple. The Washington Post's James Wagner reported that Harper's left wrist hit the bag hard as he was sliding in:
Harper beat the throw, popped up on one leg and grabbed his left wrist. Standing at the base, he grabbed his wrist, grimaced and took off his batting glove. He stayed in the game and completed the inning. ...
... Harper took his spot in left field in the fourth inning but left the game at the top of the following inning. Nate McLouth took left field instead of Harper in the fifth inning.
However, after the game the Nationals reported that Harper injured his thumb:
#Nats Manager Matt Williams said Bryce Harper left tonight's game w/a jammed left thumb. X-rays were negative. He will be reevaluated tmrw.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 26, 2014
You can see video of the triple below:
MASN's Dan Kolko notes that Harper doesn't seem worried about the injury:
Harper said he didn't think thumb injury was serious at any point. Thumb was wrapped up postgame but Harper said he hopes to play tomorrow.— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) April 26, 2014
The timing couldn't be much worse for Harper. Before exiting the game, he was 2-for-2 and had driven in four runs. He looked to be firmly breaking out of his early-season slump.
Although Harper didn't look to be seriously injured, neither did Josh Hamilton when he got hurt sliding into first base. Then the Angels announced that he'd be out for six to eight weeks after tearing a ligament in his thumb.
It's difficult to tell how long the Nats outfielder might be on the shelf, if he's placed on the disabled list at all.
What isn't in doubt is how much Washington will need Harper back healthy. The Atlanta Braves have started the season well and carried a three-game lead over the Nationals into Friday night. The longer Harper's out, the greater the risk of that deficit growing larger and larger.