Harper excited for Philly debut, plus Lidge and Morse updates

PHILADELPHIA - There's a slight drizzle coming down here at Citizens Bank Park, but it looks like we'll likely avoid any heavy stuff and should be able to get tonight's game in.

Unless I just jinxed it, and the sky suddenly opens up, which will probably happen.

Bryce Harper will get his first taste of Philadelphia tonight, and the Nationals' outfielder says he's legitimately excited to play in this city and this ballpark over the next few days.

"It's going to be a great experience," Harper said. "It's going to be a lot of fun. They've got a great fan base and they love their teams, throughout the NFL, NBA, NHL, everything. Coming here to play against the Phillies, it's going to be a lot of fun the next three days."

Harper went out of his way to talk up the Phillies and their fans. He was very complimentary and made sure not to say anything which might inflame this group in the slightest.

As for that little incident with Cole Hamels the last time these two teams squared off, Harper says the intentional plunking is completely behind him.

"Yeah, I don't even think about that," Harper said. "It's a new series, new day. I have a lot of respect for everybody in the other dugout, and they're an All-Star team."

I've got a few more injury notes to pass along, starting with reliever Brad Lidge, who will throw a bullpen session tomorrow. That will be his first time throwing off a mound since undergoing hernia surgery exactly three weeks ago today.

If all goes well, Lidge will go down to Viera, Fla., Thursday and will ramp his rehab up another notch. The 35-year-old will likely need another three weeks before he's ready to return to the majors, and is targeting June 15 as the day he might be able to rejoin the Nats' bullpen.

Left fielder Michael Morse went down to Viera today, manager Davey Johnson said. Morse worked out a bit today and will begin hitting tomorrow. His targeted return is still early June, possibly as early as June 1.

Closer Drew Storen has not yet gone down to Viera. He's still in D.C. and is continuing to progress in his throwing program.

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