Thomas plays five innings in Harrisburg rehab debut

Lane Thomas’ first rehab game in Harrisburg didn’t include any hits, but it did include a stolen base, an outfield assist and positive reports about the state of his left knee.

Thomas went 0-for-3 earlier today in his rehab debut, starting in right field for Double-A Harrisburg in an 11 a.m. matinee against Akron.

“He said he felt OK,” manager Davey Martinez said. “We’ll see how he comes out of it tomorrow, and if he’s good, we’ll try to get him at least four at-bats tomorrow.”

Out since April 23 with an MCL sprain in his left knee, Thomas was cleared to begin playing in games this week. He was thrown right into the leadoff spot in the Senators lineup and immediately reached base in the bottom of the first on a throwing error by Akron pitcher Ryan Webb. Thomas then stole second base, providing further evidence his knee is healed.

Thomas grounded out to short in his second at-bat, then grounded out to first base in his third and final at-bat of the day. He played a total of five innings in the field.

Thomas did enjoy a defensive highlight in the top of the fifth, throwing out Akron’s Milan Tolentino as he tried to stretch a single into a double.

“He stole a base, which is good,” Martinez said. “He had to slide, which is great. He said he came out of it OK. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”

Barring any complications, Thomas will be back in the Harrisburg lineup Wednesday night, ideally building up with more innings played. Martinez said he would like the 29-year-old to play a full nine-inning game before coming off the 10-day injured list.

It hasn’t been determined when Thomas will be activated. If he builds up to nine innings by Thursday and feels comfortable at the plate, the Nationals could bring him back in time for Friday night’s series opener against the Mariners. The following afternoon features Thomas’ “Lane Train” bobblehead giveaway, so it’s possible he’s back in the majors in time for that.

Today’s game, a 2-1 victory for Harrisburg, featured some highlights for a few of the Nats’ top prospects.

Dylan Crews went 2-for-4 with a triple and is now batting .327 with a .393 on-base percentage and .593 slugging percentage in May after a slow start to his season.

Brady House went 3-for-4 with a double and his team-leading ninth homer of the season. Over his last 19 games, he’s batting .286 with seven of those nine homers, a .370 on-base percentage, .635 slugging percentage and 1.005 OPS.

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