WASHINGTON — Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper came back from a lengthy stint on the disabled list Monday and didn’t shy away from expressing how he thinks manager Matt Williams should address the lineup questions posed by his return.
Harper, who missed 57 games (last playing April 25) because of a torn ligament in his left thumb, went 1 for 3 with an RBI single — on Bryce Harper bobblehead night as the Nationals defeated Colorado 7-3.
“Having such a deep lineup’s huge,” said Harper, who started in left. “One through eight, pick your poison because you’re going to get a guy who can hit the ball out of the ballpark or hit a double or anything like that.”
Ryan Zimmerman, who’s been playing left since being activated from his own stay on the DL, was back at third base. Anthony Rendon shifted from third to second, and Danny Espinosa was on the bench.
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Asked about Zimmerman, Harper said: “He’s great. I think he should be playing left.”
“I mean, Rendon is a great third baseman, he should be playing third and we’ve got one of the best second baseman in the league in Danny Espinosa,” he said. “Of course, you want the best-hitting lineup in there and I think Rendon playing third and Zim playing left is something that’s good for this team and I think that should be what’s happening.”
That would presumably put Harper back in center — where he played the majority of his games during his NL rookie of the year season in 2012 — in place of Denard Span.
Williams was glad to get Harper in the lineup. As for Harper’s lineup opinions, Williams didn’t say much.
“I think that I would say we’re happy to have him back,” Williams said. “And when he’s out there, regardless of where he’s at, we’d like him to catch it when it’s hit to him and hit it when it’s thrown to him. And play the way Bryce plays. That’s important for us. I don’t have any comment other than that.”
Machado begins serving suspension
BALTIMORE — Orioles third baseman Manny Machado began serving a five-game suspension Monday, nearly three weeks after Major League Baseball initially levied the sentence and five days after his appeal hearing.
Machado was suspended and fined on June 10 for intentionally throwing his bat on the field during an at-bat in Baltimore’s game against Oakland on June 8. Machado immediately appealed the suspension, and spoke for about an hour Wednesday in an appeal hearing in Baltimore with MLB official Joe Garagiola Jr.
The initial decision was upheld, meaning Machado will miss the Orioles’ four-game series against visiting Texas that began Monday, along with Friday night’s game in Boston.
•Former Mariner pitcher Joel Pineiro has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for a banned stimulant.
The commissioner’s office announced the penalty on Monday under the minor-league drug program.
The 35-year-old Pineiro is a free agent. He pitched in the minors for the Los Angeles Angels and Chicago Cubs earlier this year.
Pineiro pitched for 12 seasons in the majors with Seattle, Boston, St. Louis and the Angels. He went 104-93 and last played in the big leagues in 2011.
• Raul Ibanez’s first opportunity to be an everyday major-league player came with the Kansas City Royals.
Returning to the Royals more than a decade later, his hope is for another experience: postseason play.
The Royals signed the 42-year-old Ibanez Monday, nine days after he was released by the Los Angeles Angels.
• Frank Cashen, the general manager who wore a signature bow tie and fashioned a New York Mets team that rollicked its way to the 1986 World Series championship, died Monday. The team said he was 88.
He died at Memorial Hospital in Easton, Md., after a short illness, the Mets said.
• Bobby Castillo, a former Dodgers and Minnesota Twins pitcher credited with teaching Fernando Valenzuela how to throw a screwball, died Monday in a Los Angeles hospital after a battle with cancer, the team announced. He was 59.