Despite wearing a knee brace in his first game in almost a month, Bryce Harper showed no ill effects from his injured left leg. As usual, he played the game at full speed.
Rehabbing a sore knee, Harper reached base in both plate appearances and played three innings in the field on Tuesday in the Class A Advanced Potomac Nationals' 7-5 win over the visiting Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
"He was flying. That's as good as I've seen him run," Potomac manager Brian Daubach told the Washington Post.
The 20-year-old hustled to leg out a bloop double to shallow left field that just eluded Myrtle Beach shortstop Edwin Garcia in the first inning. His stay on the basepaths was short-lived, however, as Pelicans starter Alec Asher picked him off second base as he tried to slide head-first back to the bag.
"He had a real aggressive [lead] and he was looking to steal third. And, for me, that's a good sign," said Daubach, who managed Harper in his first 72 games as a pro with Class A Hagerstown in 2011.
Batting second and playing left field, Harper walked on seven pitches with one out in the third, took second on Jason Martinson's two-out RBI single, swiped third on the front end of a double-steal and came home on Adrian Nieto's base hit up the middle.
Caleb Ramsey replaced Harper -- who did not see a chance in the outfield -- in the top of the fourth.
Harper is expected to play five or six more games in the Minors before returning to Washington. With Potomac wrapping up its homestand on Thursday, he may conclude his rehab assignment with Hagerstown.
Before Washington's game on Tuesday night, manager Davey Johnson said he hopes Harper will rejoin the club Monday for the opener of a series against the Brewers.
"Harper will take four, five, six days maybe to get [ready]," Johnson told MLB.com. "Hopefully, he doesn't have any problems playing on [the knee]. That's the big thing. I'm not so much worried about his timing, it's how he reacts after he plays on it.
"He will probably do three or four innings tonight and gradually, if there is no problem, up it. He goes 150 percent, even if it's just three innings, he is not going to be babying it. He doesn't know how to do that. I'm hopeful the knee doesn't react from playing."
The All-Star -- still the youngest player on the P-Nats roster -- hit .289 with 18 homers and 61 RBIs in 130 Minor League games across two levels in 2011 and 2012. He skipped Potomac on his climb through the Nationals system, going straight from Hagerstown to Double-A Harrisburg.
The 2012 National League Rookie of the Year, Harper is a career .274 in the Majors. He batted .270 with 22 homers and 59 RBIs in 139 games last year and was hitting .287 with a dozen homers and 23 RBIs in games this season.
Harper injured his knee on May 13 when he collided with the outfield wall at Dodger Stadium, then aggravated it on May 26 against Philadelphia. The Nationals placed him on the 15-day disabled list on June 2 with knee bursitis, roughly characterized as swelling and inflammation around the kneecap.
Although Harper has missed 25 games, he's still tied for the team lead with 12 homers and ranks first in batting (.287) and on-base percentage (.386).