WASHINGTON -- On Sunday, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was hitting sixth against a right-handed pitcher for the second day in a row. Harper agreed with manager Matt Williams' decision to drop him from second in the order to sixth.
The reason for the change is that Harper went 4-for-18 (.222) in five games since being activated from the disabled list on Monday. Harper missed two months of action because of torn ligaments in his left thumb, and it didn't help that he didn't face any left-handers or see many breaking balls while he was on his rehab assignment. Harper didn't see lefties until he returned to the big leagues.
"I think it's going to take a little time to get back into it. I'm trying to have good at-bats and not chase bad pitches," Harper said. "I'm trying to get in a groove again and trying to get going. With two months off, it's kind of tough trying to get back and do things."
In the sixth inning against the Cubs on Saturday, Harper showed sign of maybe getting out of his slump when he singled to left field.
"When I hit the ball the opposite side, that's huge," Harper said. "I can hit the ball to left pretty well and feel good about it. That's a good sign. We won the ballgame yesterday and that's the biggest thing. That's all I ever care about. I know my swing is going to come. It will get there. If we win a ballgame, it will be a lot easier to get going."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.