For the second straight day, Bryce Harper and Wilson Ramos took early batting practice at Nationals Park and again ran through another bucket of balls. As they did the day before, both drilled line drives and moonshot home runs as they progressed in their respective rehabs. Both produced loud thuds with their hits and most balls landed in the seats.
Ramos, who has been on the disabled list since June 11 with a hamstring strain, may begin his minor league rehab assignment as soon as this weekend, according to Nationals Manager Matt Williams. Ramos, recovering from his third strain in two seasons, is eligible to come off the disabled list as early as June 26, when the Nationals will be in Chicago.
“Willy looks good,” hitting coach Rick Schu said. “It looks just like he left off.”
Harper, who has been out since April 26 with left thumb surgery, could begin his rehab assignment next week while the Nationals are on a seven-game road trip, Williams said. Harper has said that he would like to play seven to eight rehab games before he returns. Livan Hernandez threw batting practice on Friday and marveled at the Harper’s power in the early stages of his return to play.
“The bat sounded good,” Hernandez said. “When you’re batting, you don’t feel it. But the one in front, like me pitching, every time he hit the ball I knew he hit it hard, either a home run or line drive.”
The back of Harper’s thumb was a little bit tender afterward, Williams said, but that was to be expected and the feeling was concentrated on the opposite side of the location of the surgery. “But he was able to swing today with no issues and drive the ball,” Williams said. “He’s right on schedule.”