Harper to begin rehab assignment tonight (updated)

The original plan was for Bryce Harper to start his rehab assignment Tuesday at high Single-A Potomac. Harper then said he’d prefer to wait another day or two, and the plan was altered to have Harper likely starting his rehab assignment Wednesday.

Now we’re back to Tuesday again.

A source with knowledge of the situation has confirmed that Harper will head to Woodbridge, Va., on Tuesday, to make his first rehab appearance as he works back from left knee bursitis, which has bothered him for more than a month.

Harper took batting practice and participated in a workout at Nationals Park on Sunday, and he did the same today on the Nationals’ off-day. It was after this workout that Harper was cleared to head out on his rehab assignment and begin getting some game action.

The plan for Harper, the source said, is to have him progressively build up his innings at Potomac. Harper is scheduled to play three innings tomorrow for the P-Nats, and then could rest Wednesday to make sure there are no lingering issues with the knee. If all goes well, he’ll work up his innings numbers as the week goes on, and assuming there are no setbacks, he could be available to return either this weekend in New York, when the Nationals take on the Mets, or back in D.C. against the Brewers early next week.

Harper had originally shied away from the Nationals’ plan to start his rehab assignment Tuesday, but he put on a show in his batting practice session Sunday and looked to be running at near full speed during on-field drills. He came through today’s workout feeling great, per the source, and now will take the next step in his rehab.

Harper injured the knee running into the right field wall at Dodger Stadium on May 13. He landed on the DL on June 1 (retroactive to May 27), and has already been sidelined 25 games.

Comcast SportsNet was the first to report that Harper’s rehab assignment would begin Tuesday.

Update: The Nationals have announced that there will be no pregame or postgame access to Harper while he is on his rehab assignment until he plays a full nine innings. We’ll do our best to let you know how Harper fares in Woodbridge, Va., beginning tonight, but we won’t be able to talk to the player himself until he plays a full game.

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