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Bryce Harper's return remains shrouded in mystery

Bryce Harper's return remains shrouded in mystery
Washington outfielder Bryce Harper is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment soon, but the exact date is still up in the air. (Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

When Bryce Harper exactly will begin a minor league rehab assignment remains a mystery, even to his manager. The All-Star outfielder has been sidelined since April 26 and had ligament surgery on his left thumb last month.

"I don't know. I heard a vicious rumor going around that he's going out Monday," Nationals Manager Matt Williams cracked about media reports of Harper's projected seven-game stint with Class-A Potomac. "Is that his plan? I don't know because nobody's told me. . . . At some point during the next road trip he'll go out."

Washington could have a crowded outfield situation whenever Harper, its primary left fielder, returns. Ryan Zimmerman, historically a third baseman and recently returned from his own injury, has played left field in Harper's absence. He's had throwing issues at third and it's uncertain whether he can play consistently at his former position.

Etc.

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Pittsburgh will be without outfielder Starling Marte for a couple days while he attends to a personal matter in his native Dominican Republic.

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The Yankees honored former first baseman Tino Martinez with a plaque in Monument Park. His is the 27th plaque in the area behind the center-field fence at Yankee Stadium, where all-time greats such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle are feted with monuments.

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Kansas City put outfielder Nori Aoki on the 15-day disabled list because of a left groin strain and transferred left-hander Bruce Chen to the 60-day DL.

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Michael Brantley, Cleveland's leading hitter, returned five days after suffering a concussion against the Angels.

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