Harper crushes three home runs on road back to D.C.

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper slammed three homers in his fifth rehab game as Double-A Harrisburg defeated Akron 10-4. Harper has been recovering from a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Harper hit two of the homers off of Akron right-handed starter Duke von Schamann in the third and fifth innings. The other was a three-run shot in the eighth. Four of his RBIs on Saturday night came with two outs.

He finished 4-for-5 with three runs scored and five RBIs. He also was caught stealing once and grounded into a double play.

Harper now has four homers in five games between Single-A Potomac and Harrisburg. Saturday night he was designated hitter and batted third.

Akron hosts Harrisburg on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. eastern time. Harper could play in that game or he could head back to D.C. to prepare to be activated in time for Monday night’s game against the Rockies at Nationals Park.

* Low Single-A Hagerstown Suns right-hander Lucas Giolito has been invited to participate in the 16th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Target Field on Sunday July 13. Giolito and Harrisburg center fielder Michael A. Taylor are the only two Nationals prospects on the team.

Giolito and Delmarva right-hander Hunter Harvey are the only full season low Single-A players invited to the Futures Game. They will both pitch for the U.S. team. Giolito has gone 3-2 with a 2.30 ERA in 12 starts over 54 2/3 innings. He has struck out 61 batters and walked only 21.

Giolito defeated Lexington on June 26 allowing no runs and three hits over six innings with nine strikeouts and one walk. The last time he went six innings in a game was May 11. He did not start another game until June 3.

Taylor is batting .332 in 74 games with 17 homers and 52 RBIs. He has 22 stolen bases, 13 doubles and two triples so far this season. One scout told me he has been incredibly impressed with the range that Taylor demonstrates in the outfield.

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