Harper in lineup as Nats take on Mets

Harper in lineup as Nats take on Mets
September 11, 2013, 6:00 pm
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Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper (34) celebrates with teammates after a 6-2 win against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

(Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

NEW YORK — The Nationals have won four straight games without Bryce Harper in their lineup, but make no mistake, they’ll be thrilled to welcome him back tonight. After getting his ailing left hip examined Monday and taking a healthy round of batting practice yesterday, Harper has been cleared to play again and will be back in the lineup for the third game of this four-game series with the Mets, who send young fireballer Zack Wheeler to the mound.

Dan Haren gets the ball for the Nationals, and he’s in need of a quality start in the worst way after getting shelled in his last two outings, one of them against this same New York squad. If ever the veteran right-hander had a big-time start in him, tonight would be the time to break it out. (FYI: The Reds have already won, avoiding a sweep at the hands of the Cubs. So the Nats will need to win tonight to remain 6 games back.)

This, of course, is the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, so there will be tributes throughout the evening at Citi Field and players from both teams will be wearing commemorative caps. I say it every year on this day, but I’ll always remember what an important role baseball played in the nation’s healing in September and October 2011, and it’s once again nice to remember how this sport continues to help unite us.

For the full game thread go to NatsInsider.com.