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Mark it down: Harper returns to D.C. on April 2

Nationals host Phillies in second series of regular season
March 2, 2019

The baseball world won’t have to wait long to see Bryce Harper return to Washington in another uniform. The Nationals host the Phillies -- whose historic 10-year, $330 million contract with Harper was announced Saturday -- in their second series of the year, April 2-3 at Nationals Park. • Sources:

The baseball world won’t have to wait long to see Bryce Harper return to Washington in another uniform.

The Nationals host the Phillies -- whose historic 10-year, $330 million contract with Harper was announced Saturday -- in their second series of the year, April 2-3 at Nationals Park.

Sources: Harper, Phils reach 13-year deal

There was already plenty of intrigue shaping up between the two National League East rivals, as both have been among the most active teams on the free-agent and trade markets since last season ended.

The Nats added Patrick Corbin, Anibal Sanchez, Brian Dozier, Kurt Suzuki, Yan Gomes, Trevor Rosenthal and Kyle Barraclough. Newly minted Phillies include Andrew McCutchen, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, David Robertson and now Harper, who spent the previous seven seasons in Washington becoming one of the biggest stars in the game.

The Nationals drafted Harper first overall in 2010, and he debuted less than two years later, as a 19-year-old on April 28, 2012. The outfielder went on to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award, and three years later was the NL MVP.

Although Washington never won a postseason series during Harper’s tenure, the club finished first or second in all seven years, winning four division titles in that span – the only four for the team since it moved from Montreal to D.C. in 2005.

The Nats made an effort to re-sign Harper late last season, reportedly offering him a 10-year, $300 million contract, but he rejected it to test the free-agent market.

Now, he’ll try to help the Phils make the postseason for the first time since 2011.

As for the Nats, they still have a strong chance to contend with a team led by holdovers Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, Ryan Zimmerman and Sean Doolittle, plus all the aforementioned new faces.

With the much-improved Mets and the youthful Braves, last year’s division champions, also in the mix, the NL East will likely be one of the most interesting divisions in baseball this season.

That said, there will be extra incentive to tune in April 2-3, when Harper makes his return to D.C.

Phillies-Nationals matchups in 2019

at Washington: April 2-3, June 17-20, Sept. 23-26
at Philadelphia: April 8-10, May 3-5, July 12-14