The Washington Nationals expect to have right fielder Bryce Harper back sometime before the end of the season, but it’s far from a guarantee. According to Nationals manager Dusty Baker, Harper isn’t close to running anytime soon, which is certainly a concern with just a month remaining in the regular season.
“I hate the thought of him not being around, but you’ve gotta make those plans whether we like it or not. Before we holler ‘doomsday,’ we’ve got a month to go and then we’ll see,” Baker said via ESPN.
Harper suffered a hyperextended left knee and severe bone bruise, but avoided serious injury that could have ended his 2017 year. His injury came from stepping on the top of first base, a similar circumstance to the one that sidelined center fielder Adam Eaton earlier this season. Eaton suffered a torn ACL on the play and has been sidelined since April, but isn’t ruling out a return this season.
Prior to his injury, Harper was in the midst of a National League MVP-esque campaign. An All-Star for the fifth time in six seasons by age 24, he has batted .326 with a .419 on-base percentage to go along with 29 home runs and 87 RBIs in 106 games in 2017.
Despite being ravaged by injuries, the Nationals are 30 games above .500 through play on Wednesday. The team just got back outfielder Jayson Werth, who has taken over in right field for Harper. Also back are right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg and shortstop Trea Turner, who previously both missed time.