For the Washington Nationals, there was some good news yesterday. Bryce Harper is coming back … eventually.
Manager Davey Johnson and Harper himself both alluded to a rehab assignment beginning sometime in the coming week, with Harper saying Wednesday or Thursday is more feasible than Johnson’s prediction of the assignment beginning Tuesday.
Harper seems to be erring on the side of caution throughout the entire length of his injury, also claiming earlier in the process he was too young for cortisone, which was then injected by Dr. James Andrews along with the PRP treatment. Now, with the news that Harper will soon be playing again, how much longer will Washington have to wait for his return?
If I were to make a bold, or not so bold, prediction, I would have to say Washington will not rush Harper along for fear of injury and re-aggravating the knee bursitis. I would think it is safe to say Harper is probably going to spend at least 3-5 games on a rehab assignment, so probably about a week.
Though if Harper gets his way, it will probably be longer than that, as he certainly wants to be as healthy as possible when he does return, and who can blame him? He’s looking out for his best interests and also the best interests of the team.
The interesting dynamic is going to be who gets their way: Johnson or Harper. Johnson has openly said it’s not the player’s decision to say when they are ready to return and you can bet whenever Davey can, he’s going to get Harper’s bat back into Washington’s lineup as soon as he can.
This puts GM Mike Rizzo in a very uncomfortable position. Johnson is slated to be on Rizzo’s staff in the front office for presumably the net two years, and Harper is his superstar cornerstone that the GM also needs to, at times, placate to improve his chances of signing long-term.
Not to mention the stigma he placed on the team when he shut down Stephen Strasburg in 2012 — if the sophomore comes back and re-injures himself, people will begin to question their logic as an organization.
That said, the fact is that Harper is coming back soon, and Wilson Ramos is also about 10 days away from going on a rehab start of his own. Slowly but surely, Washington is getting healthy.
Unfortunately, it can not happen fast enough.