WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper came back from a lengthy stint on the disabled list Monday and didn't shy away from expressing how he thinks manager Matt Williams should address the lineup questions posed by his return.
Harper, who missed 57 games because of a torn ligament in his left thumb, was batting sixth and playing left field as the Nationals opened a series against the Colorado Rockies on Bryce Harper bobblehead night.
That meant Ryan Zimmerman, who's been playing left since being activated from his own stay on the DL, was back at third base. Anthony Rendon shifted from third to second, and Danny Espinosa was on the bench.
Asked about Zimmerman, Harper said: "He's great. I think he should be playing left."
"I mean, Rendon is a great third baseman, he should be playing third and we've got one of the best second baseman in the league in Danny Espinosa," he said. "Of course, you want the best-hitting lineup in there and I think Rendon playing third and Zim playing left is something that's good for this team and I think that should be what's happening."
That would presumably put Harper back in center — where he played the majority of his games during his NL rookie of the year season in 2012 — in place of Denard Span.
Williams was glad to get Harper in the lineup. As for Harper's lineup opinions, Williams didn't say much.
"I think that I would say we're happy to have him back," Williams said. "And when he's out there, regardless of where he's at, we'd like him to catch it when it's hit to him and hit it when it's thrown to him. And play the way Bryce plays. That's important for us. I don't have any comment other than that."