Williams: Harper's thumb getting stronger

Williams: Harper's thumb getting stronger

NEW YORK -- Since coming back from his left thumb injury on June 30, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is 30-for-129 (.233) with five home runs and 12 RBIs, and 48 strikeouts in 38 games. However, he feels his swing is coming along.

In the last week, for example, he has hit three home runs, all against the Mets. The third home run, which came during Thursday's 4-1 victory against New York, gave an indication that he is getting his strength back.

In the fourth inning, Harper hit a mammoth home run over the right-center-field wall, a two-run shot, to make it a 4-0 game. He swung the bat free and easy and hit the ball a long way to right field. The other two home runs against New York were opposite-field shots.

"His strength is coming back, and if he gets a ball that is in a little bit, sometimes it hurts him. He feels it for a day or so, but that is part of the process coming back from that," manager Matt Williams said. "He is getting stronger by the day. He is seeing it better. It probably starts with strength. If you feel good about it, then you are able to stay back and wait for the ball a little bit, let it travel, and he has been doing that."

Harper, who also struck out twice in his 1-for-4 night Thursday, said the home run swing was the best he felt all year.

"It was pitch I could handle over the plate. I was lucky enough to put it over the fence for two runs," Harper said.

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.