Wire Taps: Nationals get Bryce Harper back? Bryce Harper bobbleheads? Bryce Harper, Bryce Harper

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

So... did you hear that Bryce Harper is expected to return to the Washington Nationals tonight? Remember Bryce? He's the 21-year-old outfielder with the "light tower power", right? No official announcement, but it's all-but confirmed. Harper in D.C. tonight...

So... heard any news about Bryce Harper? There are rumors, as yet unconfirmed by the team, that the 21-year-old outfielder could return to the Washington Nationals' lineup tonight, just in time for Bryce Harper bobblehead night. Conspiracy? Or something.

"I did. He hit into a double play. ... He also did a couple other things." -QOTD: Matt Williams on Harper's 3 HR game via @ZuckermanCSN

Harper, who's been sidelined since April 25th when he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb, ended his rehab stint with a three-HR game for the Harrisburg Senators on Saturday night, leaving him 9 for 14 with a double and four home runs in five games. As FP Santagelo would say, "Call him up."

Nats' skipper Matt Williams told reporters last week that he had a plan in mind for when Harper returned. With Danny Espinosa once again struggling at the plate, the assumption around the internets is that he'll return to the utility role he began the season in, with Ryan Zimmerman returning to third base where his history of recent throwing issues will have everyone holding their breath every time a ball is hit his way. Will Anthony Rendon be back at second base? Harper in left?

One thing we do know is that Jordan Zimmermann will be on the mound tonight, taking on Colorado Rockies' lefty Yohan Flande in the first game of a three-game set in the nation's capital. The rest we'll hear about later today.

Until then, links and lots of them (or as many as we can find)... starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "While the offense has been up and down around him, Rendon is back to being a consistent force this month." - "Anthony Rendon’s hot-hitting June continues" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "A healthy lineup should be a more-productive lineup, with everybody slotted where they should have been all along and no one player feeling pressure to carry the entire club (which has too often been the case to date)." - "After 81 games, Washington Nationals are in good (but not great) shape" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Last season, the Nats were 41-40 halfway in. In 2012, they held a 48-33 record at this point." - "Nationals Pastime: At the halfway point" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "With Bryce Harper’s expected return to the Nationals on Monday, a lot will be made of his impact on the lineup and defensive alignment — and deservedly so." - "As Bryce Harper returns, Wilson Ramos’s bat will also be important" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "The Nationals are expected to activate outfielder Bryce Harper from the 15-day disabled list before tonight's game against the Rockies, according to two baseball sources." - "Nationals expected to activate Bryce Harper today" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News


• "When Bryce Harper returns to the Washington Nationals lineup Monday night, he may find there is a new golden boy in town — and his name is Anthony Rendon." - "As Bryce Harper returns, Nats have new golden boy in Anthony Rendon" - Thom Loverro, Washington Times

• "Harper has played every outfield position during his rehab assignment, including Friday’s nine innings in center field." - "Bryce Harper to return Monday, barring setbacks" - James Wagner, Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Bryce Harper needs to play left field. Ryan Zimmerman needs to play third base. Anthony Rendon needs to play second base. And Danny Espinosa needs to return to the bench." - "With Harper’s return, time for Nationals to make decision on Zimmerman" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Adam LaRoche is putting together an All-Star-caliber year, but faces an uphill battle at a strong position." - "Williams: LaRoche deserves All-Star nod" - Joe Popely, nationals.com: News

• "For the first time since the seventh inning of the season opener March 31, a span of 80 games over three months, the Washington Nationals are whole again." - "Nats are healthy for the first time since opener; now Matt Williams faces tough choices" - James Wagner, The Washington Post

• "Can Matt Williams play 9 guys in 8 spots, keep everybody happy and keep winning? We’re about to find out." - "MLB Power Rankings: NL East heating up" - Steve Roney, Nats Insider

• "Called up as the 26th man for Saturday's doubleheader, Treinen will return to Triple-A Syracuse riding high." - "Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs - June 28, 2014" - Joe Popely, MLB.com WSH Recap

• "Treinen fired five innings against the Cubs, allowing two runs on one swing, a home run by Luis Valbuena in the fourth inning before the rain came." - "Blake Treinen earns first win, works on breaking balls" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "After waiting out 10 years in the Minors to get his first chance in the Major Leagues, [Yohan] Flande had to wait just five games for his next chance, in Washington on Monday." - "Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals - June 30, 2014" - Joe Morgan, MLB.com Preview

• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "Espinosa is clearly an inferior hitter to Span, so one could argue that maximizing the offense would be to bench Espinosa." - "With Bryce Harper's return, who do Nationals send to bench?" - Matt Snyder, CBSSports.com

• "From the world of minor league baseball — more specifically, Akron, Ohio — comes this announcement from rehabbing Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper." - "Bryce Harper clobbers three home runs in final rehab game" - Mark Townsend, Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports

• "Samardzija didn't feel he's having a June swoon, saying he prefers to look at each outing individually." - "Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs - June 28, 2014" - Carrie Muskat, MLB.com CHC Recap

• "Zimmermann is 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA in six career starts against the Rockies, including 2-0 with a 0.42 mark in three matchups at home." - "MLB Preview - Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals" - CBSSports.com

• "Many Auburndale residents and friends of Zimmermann made the 180-mile trek to hopefully see Zimmermann continue his success back in his home state." - "Jordan Zimmermann relishes Miller Park appearance" - Mitchell A. Skurzewski, Wisconsin Rapids Tribune

• "Danny Espinosa also went 0-for-7, making them the first Washington Nationals to both go 0-for-at-least-7 in the same game." - "Kernels: A week of fine lines" - Doug Kern, Stats & Info Blog - ESPN

• "Desmond should have the platoon advantage, although most his jacks have come against righties.  I like Desmond to go deep tonight." - "DFS: FanDuel Top Plays For Monday June 30th" - Dug Fister, Fake Teams

• NATS MINORS:

Low-A Hagerstown: "Hagerstown took its only lead in the game in the third on a leadoff solo homerun off the bat of 1B Jimmy Yezzo." - "Suns on wrong end of one-run loss to Delmarva" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

High-A Potomac: "The Potomac Nationals (44-34, 6-3) shocked the Frederick Keys (34-44, 2-9) with seven runs in the 8th inning..." - "Epic Pitcher's Duel Leads to Seven Runs of P-Nats Magic in 8th" - Potomac Nationals News

• "Another week of minor league baseball is in the books. Here is a look around the Washington Nationals’ farm system at some players making headlines." - "Washington Nationals: Minor League, Prospect Report for June 29th" - Brian Skinnell, District Sports Page

• "Sunday’s News & Notes" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

Double-A Harrisburg: "The Senators, though obviously still a struggling club, have improved each month: April (6-16), May (13-19) and now June (13-13)." - "Senators back home for Military Monday tonight vs. Richmond" - Geoff Morrow, PennLive.com

Triple-A Syracuse: "The attribute of versatility generally applies to fielding when it comes to Syracuse Chiefs' shortstop Emmanuel Burriss." - "Emannuel Burriss' versatility with glove, bat continues to be key cog for Syracuse Chiefs" - Lindsay Kramer, syracuse.com

Triple-A Syracuse: "The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, beat the Buffalo Bisons, 7-0, Sunday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium." - "Burriss, Laffey lead Chiefs in Sunday shutout" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• NATSTOWN:

• "Watch Tanner Roark get pelted with sunflower seeds during TV interview on Saturday" - Nats Enquirer

• "While some places will stay dry, a thunderstorm at an inopportune time could cause delays at the game between the Nationals and Colorado Rockies." - "DC: Storms, Increased Humidity Kick Off New Week" - Kristina Pydynowski, Accuweather.com

• "In the middle of May, the Nats stopped playing 'Take On Me' during the seventh inning stretch." - "The Nats want you to pick what will replace ‘Take on Me’ as the seventh inning stretch song" - Dan Steinberg, The Washington Post

• "This year, the team stands at 43-38, a half-game behind first-place Atlanta in the National League East." - "Grading out the Nats at the season's midway point" - Nationals Buzz: Marty Niland, MASNSports.com

• "Who *really* should be in the HR derby?" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Braves: "More good news? Starting with tonight's visit from the New York Mets, the Braves play their next 24 games against six teams that all have losing records and stand a collective 60 games under .500." - "Braves deserve more cheers than jeers" - Mark Wiedmer, Times Free Press

Braves: "The Atlanta Braves are again alone in first place, holding a half-game lead over Washington." - "Say hello again to the first-place Atlanta Braves" - Mark Bradley, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Phillies: "Obviously, things haven’t been going so well in Philadelphia this season, as expected." - "Phillies First-Half Report Card" - Bill Baer, Crashburn Alley

Mets: "David Wright is due for a morning exam on his bruised left rotator cuff at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan." - "Morning Briefing: Wheels up in Atlanta" - Adam Rubin, Mets Blog - ESPN New York

Marlins: "Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich had his glove swiped from his checked luggage during his flight to Miami after returning from his rehab assignment." - "Wanted: Missing Yelich glove" - Joe Frisaro, The Fish Pond

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