Johnson knew that Harper was not going to take it easy, even playing only three innings.
“I knew he was going to do that,” Johnson said. “Have you ever seen him jog to first? He hits a gapper, you think he is going to stop at first? No, he was going to try to hit and go to second.”
General manager Mike Rizzo said they will take the Harper rehab games one at a time and be very cautious.
“We are going to take it game by game and see how he progresses,” Rizzo said. “We will see where he is at after six (tonight) and see how he comes through it tomorrow. That will kind of dictate what he plays tomorrow.”
Rizzo joked a bit about what the team was searching for as the trade deadline looms next month and it centers around two players he knows very well.
“We would like to get a big left-handed bat, his name is (Bryce) Harper, and he is on the horizon. We would like to get a right-handed hitting catcher in (Wilson) Ramos and he is on the horizon, and really gauge and see what a fully healthy lineup looks like,” Rizzo said.
“We have two of our main cogs in our lineup have been out for extended periods of time. We haven’t had our lineup together since April 14. We are slowly getting players more and more healthy and hopefully everyone will be healthy at the same time and we will see what the lineup can do with all our players playing and everyone is hitting on all cylinders and see where we are at.”
Johnson hopes that Ramos will be able to return July 4.
“He is real close,” Johnson said. “I am hoping beyond hope that Mr. Ramos is back up here by then.
“He has been catching bullpens, running bases and doing all kinds of baseball activities. They have games going on down there. He will be in games and then go somewhere in our system.”
Johnson said that third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, fresh off two days resting his shoulder, is finding a place to throw that can be a strong starting point and a motion that he can execute without him worrying about his shoulder.
“It takes a long time because he throws from so many different angles,” Johson said. “The ones up here (points above his shoulder) has been the ones where he wants to get to that position naturally. He is getting close to getting to that without thinking about it.
“There is still probably going to be a little improvement about where he feels it, and then loads and fires. He is still kind of feeling his way through that. I think he is getting to the point where he is about ready to not even thinking about it.
“He has done an awful lot of extra throwing and hopefully we are at the point where built up to where he feels comfortable that nothing is going to happen there.”
Zimmerman said throwing is not hurting him or causing him undue soreness. He throws all the time, especially in pregame, as he warms up each day.
“The workload is not a big deal,” Zimmerman said. “For me personally I am one of those guys that needs to go out there and take ground balls and do stuff because if not, I don’t feel like I am preparing enough for the game. If something were to happen in the game, I would kick myself for not being ready. That is something I have always done. Unless it gets to the point where I can’t, I am just going to continue to do it the way I have always done.”
Right-hander Christian Garcia threw an inning last night for Triple-A Syracuse to test his arm and shoulder on rehab. He threw one inning, allowing one hit, no runs and striking out two.
Johnson said Garcia will have four or five more outings to work on fatigue in his shoulder. He said Garcia’s velocity is still not where it was last year.
“I still look at him as more of long relief,” Johnson said. “He has got so many weapons in there.”