While multiple reports, including one on this very website, have said that Bryce Harper will head out on a rehab assignment Monday to Single-A Potomac as he works back from a torn ligament in his left thumb, Nationals manager Matt Williams wasn’t able to confirm those reports this afternoon.
“At some point during the next road trip, he’ll go out,” Williams said.
That could be Monday, it could be Friday, Williams said. But once Harper does start his rehab assignment, he’ll ease into things with around five innings of work and then will build up from there.
“He’ll go the regular progression,” Williams said. “Five innings, couple of at-bats, depending on how he feels. Could be less than five innings his first time out, depending on how the at-bats go, what his thumb feels like, how his body feels like. He’ll get a DH day in there, he’ll get an off-day in there, work day.”
Harper had said previously that he ideally would like somewhere around 7-9 rehab games before returning to the Nats. That still sounds like the plan, in the Nationals’ eyes.
“Roughly a week, eight days, whatever it is,” Williams said. “Depends on how he feels, though. That’s fluid.”
Harper will play all three outfield positions on his rehab, Williams said, in addition to the DH day. Williams has said that in addition to playing left upon his return, Harper could also slide over and play center or right, giving either Denard Span or Jayson Werth a day off.
If Harper does start his rehab on Monday, and gets a little over a week in on his rehab assignment, that would leave him coming back to the Nats’ roster sometime right around the July 1 date that Williams had initially targeted as a solid option.
Meanwhile, catcher Wilson Ramos (hamstring strain) will begin a rehab assignment tonight at Double-A Harrisburg.
Ramos said last night that the plan is for him to play today and tomorrow at Harrisburg, then Monday and Tuesday at Single-A Potomac. He would then, barring any setbacks, be in line to rejoin the Nats in Chicago for their series against the Cubs.
The Nats aren’t taking batting practice today before their game against the Braves, and Williams gave the team a 5 p.m. deadline to report to the ballpark, which is later than the normal routine.
What was the reasoning there?
“I think it’s a lot of things,” Williams said. “Long game last night, quick turnaround tomorrow, some longer games against Houston. Those were almost, both of them, almost four-hour games. So there’s been a lot of grinding going on the last four days.
“Just give them a break. Give them the opportunity to just step back for a minute and not force anything today. Just let them come in and get prepared to play tonight. It’s more of a function of the last four days than anything.”