Nationals’ Harper comes off DL, goes 0 for 2 vs Phillies

FILE - In this Aug. 6, 2017, file photo, Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper warms up during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Chicago. Harper could come off the disabled list and return to the Washington Nationals' lineup Monday night on Sept. 25 in the opener of a three-game series at Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Bryce Harper has returned to the Washington Nationals’ lineup after missing 42 games with a knee injury.

The star slugger was activated from the 10-day disabled list before Tuesday night’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies. He started in right field and batted second, going 0 for 2 with a walk before he was removed in the bottom of the fifth inning.

”He’s like a kid on the first day of Little League today,” Washington manager Dusty Baker said before the game. ”He’s excited. We’re excited. We’re just going to be a conscience for him on when he has had enough or needs more.”

Harper hyperextended and bruised his left knee while slipping on first base during a rainy game Aug. 12.

The five-time All-Star and 2015 NL MVP originally was expected to return Monday in the series opener. That was delayed because he had flu-like symptoms.

”I’m pain-free. I wouldn’t be out there playing now or playing in the postseason,” Harper said. ”It’s something where if I weren’t pain-free, I would see you guys next year.”

The NL East champion Nationals will open a best-of-five Division Series at home on Oct. 6.

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