VIERA, Fla. — Bryce Harper hasn’t reported to spring training yet, but the Nationals star outfielder will be cleared for full participation once he does, according to new manager Matt Williams.
“As far as I know, he is full-go for spring training,” Williams said Saturday following the club’s first workout for pitchers and catchers. “We’re going to monitor him, though. We’re going to see how his knee reacts.”
Harper had surgery in late-October to debride and repair the bursa sac in his left knee after playing through pain for most of the season. The recovery time from that procedure was said to be roughly 16 weeks, which would coincide with the start of spring training, but Harper suggested late last month at NatsFest he might not be 100 percent when he reported.
Position players are scheduled to report on Tuesday, but Harper is expected to arrive in Viera before then. The Nationals will watch the 21-year-old closely as he participates in drills, but Williams believes the real test of his knee will come once the Grapefruit League season begins Feb. 28.
“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,” the manager said. “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.”