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Johnson shuffles lineup with Harper back

Johnson shuffles lineup with Harper back

Johnson shuffles lineup with Harper back

WASHINGTON -- Rookie second baseman Anthony Rendon had batted second in his past 15 games, but with Bryce Harper returning from the disabled list for Monday's series opener against the Brewers, manager Davey Johnson reshuffled the lineup.

For the first time since April 17, Johnson was able to fill out a lineup card that included Harper, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman. He put them in the same order he had early in the season, with Werth second behind Denard Span, followed by Harper and Zimmerman.

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That dropped Rendon to seventh, after Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond, despite the fact that he is hitting .330 with a .358 on-base percentage since returning from the Minor Leagues on June 5.

"Rendon did a heck of a job," Johnson said. "His on-base percentage, his batting average, his approach was great. But the problem is, Werth has got a little more pop. He has a history of being able to get on base, that's his M.O. -- getting on base, taking pitches."

Werth brought a .333 OBP into Monday's game but has a .361 career mark, including .387 last year.

Johnson also likes the way the top of the lineup sets up, with Werth and Zimmerman splitting three left-handed hitters.

"It's all about matchups late in the ballgame that you want to create, and [Werth] is more of a threat at this point than Rendon is," Johnson said. "But Rendon did the job for what I want in the two-hole -- get on base. If there's a guy on second, he can shoot the ball over to right field and get him over and get him in. It's not a slap at Rendon at all, but the other guy's got a proven track record. He was one of the reasons we were so successful last year, I led him off and hit Harper behind him. They're used to having that relationship, too. I pretty much thought I would go back there."

Rendon also has run into the first mini-slump since his recall. He is 1-for-17 over his last four games after batting .392 over his first 18 back with Washington.

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @HitTheCutoff. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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