Harper returns to Nats lineup, Lombardozzi playing left

After two days out of the Nationals lineup, Bryce Harper is back in there today, playing right field and hitting third.

Harper had a minor surgical procedure Thursday night to remove an ingrown toenail on his left big toe, and he missed the Nats’ last two games as he recovered from the operation.

He returns for the finale of the Nats’ three-game series with the Cubs.

Steve Lombardozzi will get his first start in the outfield this season. He’ll play left field, replacing Tyler Moore, who has been struggling lately.

Lombardozzi spent part of batting practice yesterday shagging flies in the outfield under the watchful eye of first base coach and outfield instructor Tony Tarasco, and as I type this, Tarasco is hitting Lombardozzi fly balls, giving the career infielder a bit of a crash course before today’s game.

Lombardozzi is hitting .245 this season, but strangely, he’s been far more productive as a pinch hitter than he has been when he’s gotten into the starting lineup. Lombardozzi is hitting .316 (6-for-19) as a sub, compared to .206 (7-for-34) as a starter.

The Nats will face Cubs right-hander Scott Feldman today. Feldman is 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA this season and is coming off seven scoreless two-hit innings against the Rangers his last time out.

Gio Gonzalez gets the ball for the Nats. He’s 3-2 with a 4.97 ERA this season, and bounced back from a rough first inning his last time out to allow just two runs over six innings in a win over the Pirates.

For the Nats
CF Denard Span
LF Steve Lombardozzi
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Kurt Suzuki
LHP Gio Gonzalez

For the Cubs
SS Starlin Castro
3B Cody Ransom
1B Anthony Rizzo
LF Alfonso Soriano
RF Scott Hairston
CF Ryan Sweeney
C Dioner Navarro
2B Darwin Barney
RHP Scott Feldman

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