VIERA, Fla. - After getting his second game off in a five-day span in order to rest a sore left thumb, Bryce Harper is back in the Nationals lineup for today's Grapefruit League finale against the Mets.
Harper sat out yesterday's game against the Braves after getting jammed the day prior in a two-hit performance in Jupiter. He said his thumb felt better when he woke up yesterday, and the thumb had improved enough by today that he was cleared to return to the lineup.
"He wanted one or two at-bats," Johnson said. "That's what most of the guys that are starting the game wanted."
Harper enters today's game having gone 9-for-9 in his last nine at-bats. He's reached base in 10 straight plate appearances and is batting a ridiculous .476/.507/.730 this spring.
While Harper returned to the lineup today, Jayson Werth will get the day off.
Werth got hit by a pitch on the left elbow yesterday, and while he played out the rest of the game, Johnson opted to rest his right fielder today.
"He's all right," Johnson said. "He just got it on his funny bone."
Werth is expected back in the Nats lineup in tomorrow's exhibition game in D.C. against the Yankees. Johnson plans on playing all of his regulars, giving them a chance to get re-acclimated to Nats Park.
"We're going to be on our home turf," Johnson said. "Everybody wants to get reacquainted with the ground and the wall. I'm sure they'll want two or three (at-bats) in that game. If it were me, you got an exhibition game at your own park, you want to check out the dirt, want to be able to (complain) at the grounds crew. But that depends on how we come out of today."
Here are the lineups for today's game:
For the Mets
LF Collin Cowgill
2B Daniel Murphy
1B Lucas Duda
RF Mike Baxter
3B Zach Lutz
CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis
C Anthony Recker
SS Omar Quintanilla
P Domingo Tapia
For the Nats
CF Denard Span
RF Roger Bernadina
LF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Kurt Suzuki
P Gio Gonzalez