Bryce Bryce, baby: Harper could return Monday
Nationals OF Bryce Harper will play at least three more rehab games and could return to Washington's lineup as soon as Monday, according to the Washington Post. Harper's latest rehab appearance on Thursday included a double, a walk and a run scored, so it sounds like he's almost ready.
Harper played right field Thursday night, will play center field tonight, and is expected to appear in left field on Sunday. His flexibility will allow the Nats to move other players (like Ryan Zimmerman) around, so if you own Denard Span or Danny Espinosa in weekly lineup leagues, you might want to bench them next week to see how things shake out.
Thursday's studs & duds
Dud: Deposed Angels' closer Ernesto Frieri was given an easy opportunity, entering Thursday's game with a 6-1 lead, but allowed a single, a walk and a double before getting lifted in favor of Joe Smith. I guess I'd hold Frieri for a little while longer since Mike Scioscia wants him to get the job back, but who knows when things will get better? If you have any "Frieri or ________?" questions, send me a tweet and I'll be happy to help.
News & notes
Remember Manny Machado's bat-throwing incident? His appeal was heard Wednesday, and a five-game (or less) suspension could begin at any time. Keep an eye on this, daily leaguers.
Starling Marte's finger injury kept him out of the Pirates' lineup again on Thursday, but he could return tonight. Also, remember that Gerrit Cole will come off the DL to start on Saturday.
Shelby Miller's status for his Sunday start is shaky due to back tightness.
With Danny Santana day to day because of a bruised knee, the Twins have called up 20-year-old Class A SS Jorge Polanco. Polanco was batting ,289 with five home runs and eight stolen bases before his promotion, but don't expect him to hang around for long.
Jarred Cosart's strong outing against the Braves raised our record to 50-35 for the season. The weekend picks are Kevin Gausman (owned in 11.8 percent of FOXSports.com leagues) in the 1:05 p.m. ET opener of a doubleheader today against the Rays; Seattle's Roenis Elias (28.5 percent owned) versus the Indians on Saturday; and Tigers' lefty Drew Smyly (15.6 percent owned) at Houston on Sunday. Smyly has allowed four earned runs in 25 innings over his last four starts.
See you back here Monday morning.