Harper nearing return to Nats' lineup

Harper nearing return to Nats' lineup

Harper nearing return to Nats' lineup
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Nationals hope to have a few outfielders back in action this week after missing time with injuries.

Top prospect Bryce Harper could be ready to return to the lineup soon after missing time with a calf strain. Harper has been hitting off a tee but has not been able to run yet. Nationals manager Davey Johnson does not expect Harper to play on Monday, but believes he could be ready in the near future.

"Probably not because I haven't seen him go through full drills," Johnson said of Harper's availability for Monday. "I like to see a full workout and then give them another day so we'll see. That's probably not on his schedule. On his schedule, he'd probably be in the lineup."

Johnson is also monitoring Mike Morse's ailing shoulder. Morse received a cortisone shot on Saturday to try and alleviate some of his discomfort. He has not played in a game since March 4.

"He said he wanted to DH some, but I'll see how he's doing," Johnson said. "He's probably going to be a little sore today because he had it done I think [Saturday]. We'll see how he's doing."

Rick Ankiel is another outfielder that could be back in action soon. The veteran was competing for a spot in the Nationals' outfield before a hamstring injury on March 9 forced him to take some time off.

"He was really tight," Johnson said. "The physical therapist really broke it up and he was sore today from trying to break up the tightness in it. The tightness is causing discomfort, so I think once they get that loosened up he'll be OK. Maybe [Monday]. I'll have to check with the trainer."

Once Harper, Morse and Ankiel return, they will join Jayson Werth, Roger Bernadina, Brett Carroll, Jason Michaels, Xavier Paul, Eury Perez and Corey Brown as outfield options.