Mark Zuckerman on when Harper will return
NEW YORK — Taylor Jordan is in New York, ready to make his big-league debut on Saturday, though confined to his hotel room tonight while his soon-to-be teammates open their series against the Mets.
The Nationals will officially promote Jordan from Class AA Harrisburg for tomorrow afternoon's game at Citi Field, though MLB rules prevent the right-hander from being in the clubhouse until the transaction actually takes place. So the 24-year-old right-hander will watch on TV tonight, studying the Mets' lineup in anticipation of his big-league debut.
Manager Davey Johnson has no first-hand knowledge of Jordan, relying only on reports he's received from his minor-league staff, but he intends to give the rookie a fair tryout over the next week or two.
"I haven't even seen him throw. I've just gotten good reports," Johnson said. "I imagine for sure he'll get at least a couple, two or three starts. ... We did the same thing with [Nate Karns]. Give him some experience up here, and that's what it's all about. And then grade him out."
While Jordan will join the Nationals' active roster this weekend, Bryce Harper still isn't expected to play until Monday when the club returns home to face the Brewers. The star outfielder will resume his rehab with Class AA Harrisburg at Bowie on Saturday, leaving him on target to come off the disabled list Monday.
Harper is 4-for-8 with a double, a triple, a homer and two walks in three rehab games this week, perhaps giving the Nationals reason to consider bringing him back for this weekend's series in New York.
But while Harper has experienced no setbacks, and while his injured knee has showed no swelling since he resumed playing, the organization prefers to give him a few more days on rehab.
"He said that he needed about five or six games," Johnson said. "If that's what he felt like he needed and there's been no repercussions with the knee, there's no sense in speeding that up. We always want to do what's best for the player, number one, and I think that's the plan he came up with and we're all comfortable with."
Harper will get to face a big-league arm, also on rehab assignment, on Saturday when Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen starts for Bowie.
Wilson Ramos, meanwhile, caught three innings in the Gulf Coast League in Viera today and is progressing toward joining a higher-level minor-league affiliate in the next few days, perhaps ready to return from his strained hamstring by late next week.