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MLB Washington Nationals

When Will Bryce Harper Return To The Washington Nationals?

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals, although winners of their last three, need Bryce Harper back in the lineup.

As for exactly when he’ll return, though … well, it turns out that there might be a bit of an internal disagreement about that. You’d think it wouldn’t be the case, as manager Davey Johnson laid out a pretty good timeline for the super sophomore, suggesting that the 20-year old would be able to begin a rehab assignment next Tuesday and presumably returning to the big league towards the end of the weekend.

Harper, though, may have something to say about that:

https://twitter.com/acomak/status/348470919091593216

So it seems that we’ve got ourselves a classic player-manager chasm here regarding the health of Harper’s knee. That said, the skipper wasted little time is establishing who has the final word on the matter, telling the media in a pregame session that “when a player starts playing, it’s really up to [him], what [he thinks] they need. Not up to the player.”

Seems almost uncharacteristic of Johnson to say, no?

It goes without saying that Harper’s production both on the field and at the plate has been sorely missed, though considering that it’ll be the latter that this struggling Nationals offense really needs, maybe the player has a point here about wanting to “come back 100 percent”, which strikes me as about the only way that the 20-year-old knows how to play.

Now that he’s this far into his recovery from an ailing knee, will he really be able to help the Nats as much over the long-term if he’s rushed ahead a day or two? It’s difficult to say the overall gains of taking the cautious approach won’t outweigh the as-soon-as-possible one … even if the team will undoubtedly get a boost from a 70 percent version of the star, as he’d put it.

That said, it’s not as though Johnson is totally off here about Harper being a little too cautious since it’s his first time on the DL, especially when he has his whole career ahead of him.

Whatever the final decision is, this situation will likely clear up after the off-day on Monday. Will Harper be back in time to take on Matt Harvey and the New York Mets next weekend? Will he be “blown away”, as he puts it? Either way, Nats fans can expect all of this drama over to end relatively soon.