Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper will begin a minor league rehab assignment tomorrow with High-A Potomac, reports Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com. He’s slated to play three innings and start in left field in his return to game action.
Harper has been sidelined since May 26 with left knee bursitis. The 20-year-old wasn’t originally expected to begin a rehab assignment until Wednesday at the earliest, but his timetable was moved up after an impressive round of batting practice earlier today at Nationals Park.
Depending on how Harper’s knee responds, he could return as soon as this weekend against the Mets. The Nationals could wait until the start of their next homestand next Monday against the Brewers if they feel he needs a little more time. Either way, he’ll be a welcome addition for an offense which ranks dead-last in the majors this month with 70 runs scored.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.