The Washington Nationals are hanging around in the National League Wild Card race and they'll receive a boost for their pursuit of the postseason from the return of outfielder Bryce Harper, who hit clean-up on Wednesday after missing five games this month while nursing a hip injury.
Despite Harper's absence, the Nationals entered Wednesday 7-2 in September and are within five games of the Cincinnati Reds, who hold the NL's final Wild Card spot, in the loss column.
Harper has posted a .273/.377/.504 line in 2013, good for a 141 OPS+. He went 1 for 4 with a pair of strikeouts in the Nats' 3-0 victory over the New York Mets.
More injury news from around the league:
- Mets third baseman David Wright participated in baserunning drills on Wednesday for the first time since landing on the disabled list with a hamstring injury on Aug. 3, according to ESPN New York's Adam Rubin. Wright is expected to increase the intensity of his running over the next few days and could be back in the Mets' lineup next week, per Rubin.
- Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer hasn't played since Aug. 19 because of the after-effects of a concussion. He reportedly was "irritable" about his condition on Wednesday, according to Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. That prompted Twins general manager Terry Ryan to say that it "was a bad day," adding that Mauer will test himself again on Thursday.
- Edwin Encarnacion's sore left wrist is making progress, but it might not get to the point where the Toronto Blue Jays first baseman will be able to see the field again before the end of the season, manager John Gibbons told Sportsnet.ca's Ben Nicholson-Smith.
- Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Paul Maholm will not make his scheduled start on Friday against the San Diego Padres, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Maholm underwent an MRI Wednesday on his elbow, which showed no structural damage, per David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 25-year-old right-hander David Hale will make his first big-league start in place of Maholm.
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