Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper was back in the lineup Monday for the first time in 57 games. He contributed with an RBI single, a run scored and some laser-beam outfield throws.
It didn't create an out that time, but his throw was Harper-like stunning for its power and force.
"I just thought (Justin) Morneau came off a little hot and tried to back-door him and thought it was a good play," Harper said. "Pretty much had him."
But many remembered his pregame quote where he didn't mention Denard Span and his recent declaration that he prefers playing center field.
One take could be Harper was just complimenting his teammates and how good they are at what they do, saying that they are all good enough to be starting. Would it have been better if he had mentioned Span on that list? Definitely would have cleared up some of the ambiguity.
No doubt he will be asked the question about center field again today so we should have a clearer picture.
Harper said he enjoyed finally being back on the field.
"It was good. On a Monday night, that's pretty unbelievable," Harper said. "It's fun to be able come back and have an atmosphere like that. I'm definitely looking forward to tomorrow's game and beyond that."
Harper said getting back in the batter's box at Nationals Park felt a bit peculiar.
"I was just going up there wondering what they were going to play for my walk-outs because I had no clue what I gave them two months ago," Harper smiled. "I just tried to go out there and have some fun and really enjoy it, be able to get back in front of the fans. Was like an opening day experience for sure. It was a lot of fun to get back out there and really get back with the team."
The Nationals have outscored their opponents 18-4 the past two games Harper has played in. Small sample size indeed, but good to see the offense produce timely hits and have the energy of the crowd get them going again.
Note: Nats Park will show the World Cup match between Team USA and Belgium on the giant video scoreboard from 4:30 p.m. (when gates open) until pregame ceremonies begin around 6:45 p.m. tonight, a team official confirmed to MASNsports.com.