Nationals' Bryce Harper begins rehab assignment

  • Article by: BOBBANCROFT , Associated Press
  • Updated: June 26, 2013 - 6:46 AM

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper played his first minor league rehab game Tuesday night for Class-A Potomac, going 1 for 1 with a double, a walk and a run scored.

Last year's National League Rookie of the Year batted second and played three innings in left field before being pulled.

Harper hadn't played since May 26 and was put on the disabled list June 2 with bursitis in his left knee. He has missed 25 straight games and 31 of the first 75 this season for Washington.

"He looks the same old Harp," said Potomac manager Brian Daubach, who also had Harper at Hagerstown in 2011.

After having the best record in the majors last season at 98-64, the Nationals have struggled without Harper and are 38-38.

Harper wore a knee brace during warmups, but it wasn't visible during the game.

In Harper's first at-bat he hit a popup into shallow left field that was dropped by Myrtle Beach shortstop Edwin Garcia. Harper showed no signs of the knee ailment as he raced around first base and into second for a stand-up double.

"The double he hit was a blooper down the left-field line and he was flying," Daubach said. "It's as good as I've seen him run."

Moments later Harper was picked off by Pelicans pitcher Blake Schwartz after taking a large lead and failing to slide back in time to beat the throw.

"He's aggressive," Daubach said. "When he got to second, looking to take third in a situation with one out, all positive for me."

In the third inning, Harper got a late start on Rougned Odor's shot into left field. He recovered to make up ground but the ball bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double.

Harper's second at-bat ended after seven pitches with a walk.

"I know he's been out a while, and as you see with most rehab guys, the more at-bats they get they get it back," Daubach said. "But to have the second at-bat be a long at-bat and to lay off some good pitches was a good sign."

The next batter, Jason Martinson, doubled Harper to third. Again Harper's knee looked fine as he raced around the bases so fast that his helmet couldn't keep up and flew off his head before he reached third.

Harper wasn't at third base long as the next hitter, Adrian Nieto, singled him home. Harper, still the youngest player on the team, picked up Nieto's bat before crouching down and cheering as Martinson slid home to even the score 3-all.

Potomac defeated Myrtle Beach 7-5.

Although acknowledging he doesn't have the final say, Daubach answered that Harper playing six innings on Wednesday "sounds about right."

"After playing for the first time in a while, hopefully he comes back ready to go tomorrow," Daubach said.

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