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Bryce Harper took batting practice yesterday

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Bryce Harper has been on the disabled list since mid-August after he slipped on first base and hyperextended his left knee. At the time the injury looked horrific, with most people watching it assuming he shredded his knee. Thankfully, though it was diagnosed as a “significant bone bruise.” There was then and continues to be no timeline for his return, but it was definitely a far better than expected diagnosis.

Yesterday Harper took an encouraging step, taking batting practice for the first time since the injury. It was a full session against a BP pitcher and he even hit a couple of balls over the fence. He also ran some sprints in the outfield and he did some drills running to first base.

Still, neither Harper nor the Nats are making any promises or commitments about his return. Harper said he feels OK physically, but that he’s still not himself and that he has “a long ways to go,” but that he’ll “hopefully be back soon.”

The Nationals are playoff bound and have been playing pretty good baseball despite not having Harper in the lineup. They certainly don’t want to press their luck without him in the playoffs, however. Guess we’ll see in the next couple of weeks whether they’ll have to.

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.