The Washington Nationals have maintained a cautious company line about Bryce Harper and his return from a thumb injury. They have said that he will only return when he is absolutely ready.
Even with a potential return to the lineup tabbed for Monday, the Nationals have left themselves a buffer in case Harper is not ready. On Saturday night, Harper sent a clear signal that he is ready to return right now. Serving as a designated hitter for Double-A Harrisburg, Harper delivered four hits and three of them were home runs.
In the aftermath of that impressive outing, we learned something very important: Harper apparently texts his manager Matt Williams with some frequency. Here is what Williams had to say about Harper’s rehab outing on Saturday night. Quotes from MLB.com:
“He hit into a double play. He also did a couple other things,” said a smirking Williams. “I’m sure there’s a text waiting somewhere about his night and how he feels, so we’ll have more info on that tomorrow.”
But even with that being the case, Williams followed things up with the caution that has characterized the entire process.
“It depends on how he feels. We’ll get the report, we’ll talk to him and see how he’s feeling and whether there’s any soreness or anything like that,” Williams said. “We’ll see how it goes tomorrow.”
Pending anything uncomfortable or otherwise disconcerting, there seems to be no reason to believe that Harper will be back on Monday. And when he does return, it would seem that he is ready to have an impact right away for a Nationals’ team that is on the rise.