Bryce Harper begins rehab assignment, expects to move around Nationals’ outfield

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Out for the past two months with a torn thumb ligament, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper began a minor-league rehab assignment Monday night at Single-A.

Harper singled in his first at-bat and later walked before exiting the game after three innings as planned. He played left field, which is where he’s expected to spend most of his time upon rejoining the Nationals, although Harper could also see some action in center field if the team decides to keep using Ryan Zimmerman occasionally in left field rather than third base.

Zimmerman said Monday that he’d prefer to remain in left field but is willing to play third base if that’s where the Nationals need him. Similarly, Harper said after his first rehab game that he’d prefer to remain in one outfield spot full time but is willing to shift around on a game-by-game basis if the Nationals want it that way instead:

I want to get comfortable in one spot. I got in a little bit of trouble last year playing right field and getting hurt. So I think just trying to stay in one spot would be great. But with the outfield we have, I don’t think that’s going to happen. So being able to play left and play center and play right is something that I need down here.

July 1 is Harper’s expected return date for now, so the Nationals have another week to decide what their plan will be.

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Astros claim Buddy Boshers off waivers from the Twins

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The Astros announced on Monday that the club claimed reliever Buddy Boshers off waivers from the Twins.

Boshers, 29, had been designated for assignment by the Twins last week. Across parts of three seasons, the lefty compiled a 4.59 ERA with a 78/25 K/BB ratio in 86 1/3 innings in the big leagues.

Boshers has handled left-handed hitters much better than right-handed hitters, holding them to a career .621 and .793 OPS, respectively. If he makes the 25-man roster out of spring training, the Astros may use him as a LOOGY — a left-handed one-out guy. As of right now, Tony Sipp is the only lefty in the ‘pen.