Jun 22, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper (34) in the dugout against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

District Daily: Bryce Harper to Return Monday, Gio Gonzalez's Velocity Drop

Happy Harper day! Bryce Harper returns today, much to the dismay of NL East pitchers. Find out more in today’s District Daily.

Nationals expected to activate Harper Monday

(Bill Ladson, MLB.com)

NEW YORK — The Nationals are expected to activate outfielder Bryce Harper from the 15-day disabled list before Monday’s game against the Rockies, according to two baseball sources. He will be in the lineup playing left field. The Nationals have not made an announcement about Harper’s status.

Harper hasn’t played a Major League game since April 25, when he tore an ulnar collateral ligament in the left thumb while sliding headfirst into third base against the Padres. However, Harper did played five Minor League games this past week and went a combined 9-for-14 [.643] with four home runs and 10 RBIs for Class A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. His best game came Saturday, when he hit three home runs for Harrisburg. Harper had the day off Sunday. Read full article here.

Bryce Harper plays with brother, Bryan, during second rehab game with Harrisburg

(Stephanie Storm, the Washington Post)

 Not only is Bryce Harper getting closer to rejoining his Washington Nationals teammates, on Friday he was able to enjoy some family bonding time in his second rehab outing with the Harrisburg Senators.

Batting third and playing all nine innings in center field as he tested his left thumb, Harper went 1 for 2 with a single, two walks, two RBI and two stolen bases to help lead the Nationals’ Class AA club to a 4-3 victory over the host Akron RubberDucks.

Harper’s older brother — left-hander Bryan Harper — pitched a hitless eighth inning as the two brothers played in front of a crowd of 7,547 that included their parents. Read full article here.

Gio Gonzalez, Nationals unconcerned with velocity

(James Wagner, the Washington Post)

In his second start back from a left shoulder injury, Gio Gonzalez’s velocity was noticeably down. Against the Brewers on Monday, Gonzalez’s four-seam fastball averaged 90.7 mph and he still fired six scoreless innings. It was his lowest single-game fastball velocity since a July 2010 start. In his first start back from shoulder inflammation that made him miss 27 games, however, Gonzalez averaged 92 mph, closer to his season average.

The Nationals and Gonzalez, however, are both unconcerned with the change in velocity and attribute it to normal build-up after missing a month. And when Gonzalez takes the mound again in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Cubs, he expects it to improve.

“Getting back from shoulder injury, I’m not going to throw 95 right off the bat,” Gonzalez said. “It’s definitely working your way back. Nothing to be concerned about. Just keep building from there.” Read full article here.

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Tags: Bryan Harper Bryce Harper Gio Gonzalez Washington Nationals

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