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Harper returns, Taylor still ailing

Sep 3, 2015, 6:37 PM EST

USA Today

Bryce Harper was back in the Nationals’ lineup on Thursday as they prepared to begin a four-game series with the Atlanta Braves after he left the Nats’ win over the Cardinals the night before with left glute tightness.

That was the good news. The bad news was that Michael Taylor, who is still nursing a sore right knee, was out after re-aggravating the injury while making a throw in a game against St. Louis.

Taylor could play Thursday off the bench, but in a very limited capacity.

“He’s available,” manager Matt Williams said. “We may if we get to that situation, if he hits and gets on base, we may have to run for him. Sliding into second, breaking up a double play; things like that are concerns at this point. But he’s certainly available to hit. He was last night as well.”

Taylor originally hurt his knee on Aug. 27 against the Padres when he collided with the wall in center field at Nationals Park. He missed the following game before returning on Aug. 29 to pinch-hit against the Marlins. Taylor would play the next three days before getting scratched from the lineup before Wednesday’s game in St. Louis.

Williams said Taylor’s knee started bothering him after he made a throw from center field in Tuesday’s game.

“He made a throw the other night and banged the knee again, so it’s stiff,” he said. “It swelled again. We’ll monitor and make sure that we’re getting it out of there. One issue for him is stopping. He’s okay to run, but if he has to stop, that’s where it gives him trouble. That’s just swelling in the joint.”

Taylor, 24, is batting .238 with 13 homers and 55 RBI in 113 games this season.

Harper was removed from Wednesday’s game after popping out to second base with what was described as left glute tightness. He was in the lineup after being examined by head trainer Lee Kuntz and physical therapist Angela Gordon on the field at Nationals Park.

“He wants to play today and we’re happy to have him in there if he’s ready to go,” Williams said.

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