Bryce Harper to begin minor league rehab assignment Tuesday

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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.

 

Report: Martinez, Nationals agree to contract extension

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WASHINGTON — Manager Dave Martinez and the Washington Nationals have agreed to work out a contract extension that will keep him in charge of the club beyond next season, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The person confirmed the news to The Associated Press on Friday on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made.

Martinez led the Nationals to the franchise’s first World Series championship in 2019, his second season as the team’s skipper.

When he initially was hired, Martinez signed a three-year deal with a club option for 2021 that had not yet been picked up by the Nationals.

After a title defense slowed by injuries and inconsistency during a 60-game season delayed and shortened by the coronavirus pandemic, Washington was 23-34 and last in the NL East before facing the New York Mets on Friday night.

It’s the second game of a season-ending four-game series at Nationals Park.

Martinez was sporting his World Series ring on his right hand when he spoke to reporters via a video chat before word emerged Friday afternoon of a change to his contract.

“The coaching staff and myself decided to wear it for the last week of the season, so we’ve been wearing it this whole week. It’s kind of cool,” Martinez said about his ring. “Come Sunday, it goes off and goes back in its little shiny box. But it’s kind of nice to look down and look at it.”

Asked earlier in the week whether he would like his up-in-the-air contract status resolved before the season ends, Martinez said his agent and Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo had been discussing the matter.

“I love it here. I don’t see myself going anywhere else,” Martinez said then. “I appreciate the family. I appreciate this organization. We’ve built a special relationship here, so I hope I get a chance to stay for many, many years.”

Then he paused for five seconds before adding: “The sooner, the better, though.”