Harper returns, hitting cleanup

After missing the last four games with left hip inflammation, Bryce Harper is back in the Nationals lineup today, playing left field and hitting cleanup.

Harper went back to D.C. over the weekend to get checked out by Nationals medical director Dr. Wiemi Douoguih. He was told to sit out Monday and Tuesday's games, but took batting practice at Citi Field yesterday and felt well enough to have Davey Johnson write him back in the lineup for tonight's contest.

This will mark just the fourth time all season that Harper has hit out of the cleanup spot.

Anthony Rendon will play second base tonight, while Wilson Ramos will start his 19th straight game behind the plate.

Dan Haren (8-13, 5.23 ERA) gets the start for the Nats, looking to bounce back from two straight really poor outings, while Zach Wheeler (7-4, 3.38 ERA) will go for the Mets in the third game of this four-game set.

The Reds have already won today, so the Nats will need a victory to stay six games back of Cincinnati in the wild card chase.

For the Nats
CF Denard Span
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
LF Bryce Harper
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam LaRoche
C Wilson Ramos
2B Anthony Rendon
RHP Dan Haren

For the Mets
LF Eric Young Jr.
RF Juan Lagares
2B Daniel Murphy
1B Lucas Duda
3B Josh Satin
CF Matt den Dekker
C Travis d'Arnaud
SS Ruben Tejada
RHP Zack Wheeler

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