May 6, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper (34) stands in the dugout during the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Nationals Park. Los Angeles Dodgers defeated Washington Nationals 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Harper begins rehab assignment, could return July 1

Moving one step closer to having their Opening Day roster back in tact, the Washington Nationals had outfielder Bryce Harper begin a rehab assignment on Monday. Harper is scheduled to play at Class-A Potomac in two games, before his rehab assignment will shift to one of the organization’s upper level affiliates. He was scheduled to play three innings in left field Monday, but will reportedly see time at all three outfield positions over the course of the next week.

Harper has been on the disabled list since April 27, two days after injuring his left thumb on a head first slide into third base. He’d undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament and it was reported at the time that he could be out until after the All Star Break. There is a belief that he could return to the Nationals’ lineup as early as July 1st, according to an Associated Press report passed along via ESPN.com.

Prior to landing on the disabled list Harper had been batting .289/.352/.422 in 91 plate appearances.

The 21 year old sounded anxious to return to the Nationals, according to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson:

I’m very excited to get back out there. We’ll see where I’m at physically. I’ll try to go day by day, at bat by at bat. I try to work hard and get back to where I need to be. We’ll see what I can do against minor league pitching down there. I’m just excited to get down there and succeed with anything I do.

The same report also noted that catcher Wilson Ramos has also been assigned to Potomac to continue his own rehab assignment. It remains unclear how long he will spend there. He has been sidelined with a strained hamstring since early June.

Harper singled and drew a walk in his first game back on the field. Ramos, meanwhile, went 3 for 4 with a double and a home run.

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