Bryce Harper back in Monday’s lineup after sitting out with sore knee

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Bryce Harper sat out Saturday and Sunday due to lingering soreness in his left knee caused by his collision with the right field fence at Dodger Stadium last Monday, but Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that he’s back in the starting lineup for tonight’s series opener against the Giants.

Harper was all banged up after the collision, as he needed stitches in his chin and dealt with nausea, as well as soreness in his knee, shoulder, and rib cage. However, the 20-year-old outfielder was able to return to action as a pinch-hitter last Wednesday. He was in the lineup for back-to-back days on Thursday and Friday before sitting out the rest of the weekend.

Harper is batting .297/.393/.617 with 11 home runs, 22 RBI and a 1.011 OPS in 39 games this season. The second-place Nationals are hoping he’s back in the lineup to stay.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.