WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper welcomed Nationals prospects Sterling Sharp and Brigham Hill to the Major Leagues on Tuesday, drilling line drives and at least one home run off the youngsters in his first simulated game on the road to recovery.
More importantly, they aided in his greatest step towards recovery from a bone bruise after hyperextending his knee in August. Remarkably, he could be nearly ready to return to the team during this road trip, which runs through next Wednesday in Philadelphia (via MASN):
The report on him rejoining the team comes from MASN color analyst F.P. Santangelo, who also reports that Harper swung the bat, ran the bases at full speed and fielded his position in right field.
“Yeah, it went well,” said his manager Dusty Baker, who could barely contain his grin. “He moved well. He ran pretty good. His timing was off a little bit, but not too bad. He’s been hitting and we just need to see how he feels tomorrow, and if he’s sore or not tomorrow.
“That’s the key. He’s not going to hit a simulated game again tomorrow. We’ll give him a couple of days off and we’ll see how he feels.”
While Baker is excited, it’s hard to say he was surprised. After all, he asked for miracles. “It looks like a miracle is in the process.”
The next test will be a second simulated game in New York when the team heads north to take on the Mets. After that, the team will respond according to how Harper’s body responds.
“He did say he’s strong but he’s a little out of shape because he hadn’t run much,” Baker explained. “We’ll make a determination from there and see how he feels [based on] how he comes out of it.”