by Chris 'Blue Shorts' Lingebach

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — As the Washington Nationals return from the All-Star break, refreshed and in first place, the attention naturally turns to Bryce Harper, who’s been lodged in a deep slump since his June 30 return from injury.

In the month of July, Harper’s struggled to find his swing — hitting .135 for average, with a .220 on-base percentage and just one RBI, while striking out in 16 of 37 plate appearances.

Manager Matt Williams was asked how he thinks Harper spent his extended break, in his weekly appearance with The Junkies on 106.7 The Fan Friday morning.

In his response, were some words of caution for opposing pitchers.

“You guys know Bryce,” Williams said. “And if I know Bryce, he spent four days grinding about his swing. And so, you want a little bit of away from the game, to clear their head, a little bit of work – which I’m never concerned about with him, because he overworks, if anything – and just get back into the feel of why you play the game, what’s enjoyable about it, and be fresh when he comes back.”

Williams said Harper took a “phenomenal” round of batting practice Thursday evening.

“So last night, he came to the workout,” he said. “He feels good, no issues with the thumb, which is good, and last night’s batting practice was phenomenal.”

“It’s coming, you guys. Everybody knows it’s coming,” Williams said. “And when it does, pitchers are gonna pay. And it’s a process for him. He missed that kind of time, it takes some time to get back. ”

Harper has had some frustrating outings, offensively, since returning after having surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb.

He’s had two 0-for-4 outings, and three 0-for-3 outings.


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