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Bryce Harper ‘full go’ to start Nationals spring training

(Chris Gardner/Getty)

In the wake of November surgery to clear the bursitis out of his left knee, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper will have no restrictions as the team begins full workouts next week, Manager Matt Williams said. The Nationals will still be careful with their prized 21-year-old, resting him if necessary as he recovers from the injury that saddled him for all of 2013.

“As far as I know, he is full-go for spring training,” Williams said. “We’re going to monitor him, though. We’re going to see how his knee reacts. There’s no way, even in a rehab situation, there’s no way to really simulate a game or the stuff that we do on the field until you do it. That’s why guys go out on rehab and play games, because you just can’t do it. So we’ll monitor him every day. If we see anything that’s bothering him, we’ll modify his program first. And if we’ve got to hold him out a day, we’ll hold him out a day to make sure he’s ready to go. As of right now, he’s full-go.”

In late January, speaking to reporters at NatsFest, Harper made no promises about his preparedness for the start of spring training, vowing to use caution. He wanted to complete his 16-week rehab program before he joined full workouts. The Nationals believe he has.

Stephen Strasburg underwent surgery in November, too, to remove bone chips from his pitching elbow. He recovered from the surgery quickly enough to not disrupt his typical offseason preparation. Strasburg has already been playing catch without restriction and will throw a bullpen session tomorrow.

“I feel great,” Strasburg said. “Everything is going along smoothly. I’m excited to keep it rolling and get in some games here in a few weeks.”

The only other injury news relates to Zach Walters. The Nationals held him out of the informal workouts for early-arriving position players because of a tight back. Williams said Walters should be fine to participate tomorrow.

>>> Williams just finished the first scrum with reporters of his managerial career, and both Boz and myself will have his first day covered. Williams arrived at 5 a.m. after a night of tossing and turning, but he was happy with how the Nationals’ first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers went. His excitement showed early: As he walked to practice, coach Livan Hernandez sidled next to him and said, “How we looking?” Williams replied, “We’re looking good. We got some arms, man.”

We’ll have a round-up of notes from the first workout later on, too.