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Harper not hampered, attempts steal in return

Slugger feeling good after toenail surgery; Adams likely to play Sunday
Special to MLB.com

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Bryce Harper's toe was a go Saturday, and the Nationals' five-time All-Star right fielder showed no ill effects from the surgery he had Wednesday for an ingrown toenail.

Harper was in the starting lineup for the Nats' Grapefruit League game against the Astros, but he did not play in the outfield. Instead, manager Dave Martinez penciled in Harper as the designated hitter, batting third.

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Bryce Harper's toe was a go Saturday, and the Nationals' five-time All-Star right fielder showed no ill effects from the surgery he had Wednesday for an ingrown toenail.

Harper was in the starting lineup for the Nats' Grapefruit League game against the Astros, but he did not play in the outfield. Instead, manager Dave Martinez penciled in Harper as the designated hitter, batting third.

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Harper struck out twice and walked in his three plate appearances before Martinez began a massive substitution after the fifth inning when the Nats scored seven runs in their 8-1 win. Harper attempted to steal second after he walked to lead off the top of the fourth inning, but the pitch to Miguel Montero was fouled off.

"He tried to steal. That's a good indication that he feels OK, so that was good to see," Martinez said.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Martinez said that players such as Harper are "on their own" when it comes to stealing bases during Spring Training games, but he admitted that he was a "little bit" surprised when Harper, who had a similar issue with his toe in 2013, took off for second.

"He came back in the dugout and I said, 'You must be feeling pretty good.' He said, 'Yeah, I feel alright,'" Martinez said. "It's early, but it's nice knowing he feels that good."

Martinez said he basically just wanted Harper to get two or three at-bats and see some pitches, since he was out of action the past couple days.

"I told him just to make sure you take it easy," Martinez said. "I told him, 'Hey, remember, you're just coming back.'"

Taking it easy on the baseball field, however, is not in Harper's playbook.

Adams scheduled to return Sunday

Matt Adams is expected to be the starting first baseman for the Nationals' split-squad game against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Sunday. Adams has sat out the past five Grapefruit League games to nurse a blister on his foot.

"He says his blister feels fine, and he's moving around pretty good," Martinez said. "He's been working his butt off. Those things kind of happen, and we just didn't want it to get worse."

The 29-year-old Adams likely will be the backup first baseman behind Ryan Zimmerman, and he also might see some action in left field this season.

Video: WSH@HOU: Nats plate a pair on force attempt, error

Good game for Goodwin

Brian Goodwin, who is in contention for a backup role in the outfield, started in center field Saturday and went 2-for-3 from the leadoff spot. He recorded an RBI and scored a run.

Up next

Left-hander Gio Gonzalez will take the mound for the Nats when they host the Tigers in West Palm Beach Sunday on Gameday Audio at 1:05 p.m. ET. Washington will also send a split squad to Port St. Lucie to face the Mets, with Edwin Jackson scheduled to start on MLB.TV at 1:10.

Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the Nationals on Saturday.

Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper