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Washington Nationals Injury Update: Bryce Harper Likely To Begin Rehab Stint Tuesday With Potomac; Lineup vs Rockies

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The Washington Nationals face the Colorado Rockies tonight in the nation's capital without the help of Bryce Harper and his bat, but they could have the 20-year-old outfielder back in the lineup in the near future according to what Nats' manager Davey Johnson said today.

Patrick Smith

Bryce Harper has a .287/.386/.587 line with seven doubles and 12 HRs in 44 games and 178 plate appearances so far this season. The 20-year-old Washington Nationals' outfielder hasn't played since May 26th when the accumulated damage done to his left knee by two run-ins with walls, a couple hard slides on the basepaths and in the outfield and a fouled ball at the plate forced him to sit with what was later diagnosed as bursitis. Harper received a PRP injection and a cortisone shot over a week ago and reports since have said there's been a steady improvement. As Davey Johnson told reporters, including CSN Washington.com's Chase Hughes, this afternoon, Harper's ready to take the next step in his recovery, which barring any setbacks, will seem him make some rehab starts with the Potomac Nationals starting as soon as next Tuesday:

"He’ll probably hit inside again today," Johnson said. "He’ll be doing some outside activities, he’ll be doing some outfield stuff maybe outside. He’ll probably work with us through Monday, baseball stuff before he’ll be ready to go out."

Johnson joked with reporters yesterday that Harper had already likely been doing "unauthorized" baseball activities on his own.

"'He probably won't tell anybody, but I'm sure he's been doing baseball stuff,'" Johnson said, as quote by MLB.com's Tom Schad and Andrew Simon.

As CSNWashington.com's Mr. Hughes writes, Johnson noted today that the Nats' 2010 no.1 overall pick won't likely need much time on his rehab assignment, but has to see how his knee reacts to playing a full nine innings.

The still-Harper-less Nationals take on the Colorado Rockies tonight at 7:05 pm EST with Washington's '09 no.1 overall pick on the mound in the nation's capital. Stephen Strasburg pitches in D.C. tonight for the first time since Harper's last game in the lineup on May 26th against the Phillies. That day the right-hander gave up just five hits and one earned run in 8.0 innings on the mound over which he struck out nine. On the year at home in Nationals Park, Strasburg's (2-3) with a 1.09 ERA, four walks (1.09 BB/9) and 33 Ks (9.00 K/9) in 33.0 innings. Last time out, in his first start back after a rehab stint, Strasburg was limited to just 82 pitches in 5.0 IP, but he's said to have no restrictions this evening.

Here's the Nats' lineup for the second game of four with the Rockies in the long weekend series: