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Rehabbing Harper feels good, hopes to join team soon

Young outfielder hitless in Double-A game, but reports no problems with knee

BOWIE, Md. -- Bryce Harper (left knee) played left field and batted second Saturday for Double-A Harrisburg.

The Nationals left fielder went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in the fourth and had one fairly routine catch in the outfield. He also charged in and dove to trap a sinking liner and played a ball off the left-field wall without issue. He faced lefty Wei-Yin Chen, who was making his first and perhaps only rehab start in the Orioles system after recovering from an oblique injury.

"I feel pretty good right now," Harper said after playing nine innings for the first time during his rehab stint. "I felt pretty good the last couple days and nothing really feels anything like a setback or anything like that. Everything feels good, so I'm excited about where I am and hopefully we can get going."

Harper, who injured his knee in a crash against an outfield wall last month, could be back with Washington as early as Monday.

"I really think I can help the team. We're doing a great job right now. It's a little rough, but we're doing a great job up there. ... I can't wait to get back up there with the boys and get going and hopefully take a run at that first place," Harper said, noting that he was unsure what GM Mike Rizzo has planned for him.

"I don't know," Harper said of playing Monday in the big leagues. "It's just depends what Rizzo and them say. I'm not going to say anything, I don't know if I'm playing or not and we're just going to see how I feel tomorrow, see how I feel Monday and go from there."

He's had some swelling in the knee during his rehab stint, "but not anything that we should be scared about -- it's just normal," Harper said.

The knee will likely require continual treatment throughout the season, Harper said.

"I'll ice it every day and just keep up on it. You don't want to not [treat it] and it blows up on me or something. So I'll keep treatment on it all year and keep icing and just keep doing what I'm doing because it's working."

Derek Wetmore is an associate reporter for
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