Bryce Harper returned to the Nationals lineup on Monday for the first time since he tore a ligament in his thumb in late April. Harper went 1 for 3 with an intentional walk, an RBI and a run scored. He wore a protective oven mitt on his left hand and, while on the base paths, looked exactly like the Harper bobblehead given out to the first 25,000 fans through the Nationals Park gates.
Here’s a hustling Harper taking second after Colorado centerfielder Drew Stubbs misplayed his RBI single up the middle in the fourth inning.
Here’s Harper scoring from first base on Ian Desmond’s bases-clearing double in the sixth.
The familiar scene as Harper rounded third base was captured in the lede of Adam Kilgore’s game story:
The red helmet cratered into the dirt behind third base and skittered toward the outfield, discarded in a burst of energy and glee, like wrapping paper on Christmas morning. Bryce Harper sprinted for home, his slicked-back hair holding on for dear life. Ian Desmond had scorched the ball into the left field corner, and now it zipped toward the catcher, hopeless against Harper’s speed. Nationals Park erupted, louder than it had been in some time, maybe all year.
SportsCenter noticed the uncanny resemblance between Harper and his bobblehead, too.
— andrew tabach (@andrewtabs) July 1, 2014