The Nationals have the NL East locked up, but there are still several question marks surrounding their eventual playoff roster. Some health updates on the NL East champs…
- Bryce Harper wouldn’t speculate on a return date when speaking to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required and recommended), but the Nats anticipate that he’ll be ready for the postseason. Harper ran on the warning track yesterday, and hitting coach Rick Schu tells Rosenthal that the team will fly players up from its instructional league in West Palm Beach to get Harper some at-bats against live pitching. (Harper and the Nats don’t want to use the team’s current pitchers for that, so as to preserve all arms for the postseason.) “If I can feel good about running on my knee, that’s the biggest thing,” said Harper. “I’ll hunt pitches, hunt the ones I can hit. You’re never going to be ‘ready-ready’ until you get those at-bats.”
- Right-hander Koda Glover, who served as the team’s closer earlier this season, tweeted yesterday that he won’t be able to return from a right shoulder impingement yesterday. However, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports that there’s not yet any indication that the injury will require offseason surgery for the 24-year-old. Janes notes that Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, Brandon Kintzler, Matt Albers and Oliver Perez look like locks to make the roster, while the final bullpen spots are a bit murkier. She also runs down each of the team’s remaining options and some reasons for and against each. As for Glover, his season will come to a close with just 19 1/3 innings in the books. He logged a mere 5.12 ERA in that time and has a 5.08 ERA in 39 career big league frames, though the Nats seemingly remain bullish on the hard-throwing righty’s long-term potential.
- The Post’s Jorge Castillo writes that while Stephen Drew will very likely require offseason surgery to repair an abdominal muscle that he tore off the bone, Drew is still working toward a late-September return. “I’m going to give every opportunity to myself to be able to play,” said the 34-year-old Drew. “And if I can’t do, I’ll tell whoever. I’ll tell these guys. For now, our goal is to see how we progress and go from there.” Manager Dusty Baker tells Castillo that it would be “a miracle” if Drew is able to return to the field this season, given his injury. As Castillo points out, Drew would hardly be a lock for the postseason roster even if he could return when eligible on Sept. 24 (or any point thereafter), as Wilmer Difo has emerged as a quality bench option for Baker.