The Washington Nationals finally made the announcement that everyone knew was coming. Bryce Harper, 21, has been reinstated from the DL after missing 57 games while he recovered from surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb. Harper injured the thumb sliding headfirst into third base in an April 25th game against the San Diego Padres.
In 22 games and 91 plate appearances before the injury, the Nationals' 2010 no.1 overall pick put up a .289/.352/.422 line with four doubles, two triples and a home run. In five rehab games before he came off the DL today, Harper was 9 for 14 (.643 AVG) with a double, four home runs, two stolen bases, five walks and 1 K.
In an interview with reporters this weekend, Nats' skipper Matt Williams all-but confirmed Harper would return today barring any setbacks or hiccups in his last minor league game on Saturday night. Harper hit three of his four home runs on the rehab assignment that night.
While working his way back, playing two games in High-A Potomac and two in Double-A Harrisburg, Harper played all three outfield positions.
Ryan Zimmerman played left field with Harper out of the lineup, but most speculation has Harper returning to play left with Zimmerman going back to third, though he's also expected to see time in the outfield and at first base.
Harper told Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore in an article earlier this month that though he loved playing center field, he had no idea what the Nationals planned to do once they finally got all of their injured players back for the first time since Opening Day.
We'll find out where Harper's penciled in for his first game back in the next few hours...
In order to make room on the roster for Harper's return, the Nationals optioned LHP Xavier Cedeno back to Triple-A Syracuse.
Oh, and by the way, it's Bryce Harper bobblehead day...