6/21/2014 12:40 A.M. ET
Harper's thumb responds well after BP, field work
By Daniel Popper / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper (torn left thumb ligament) took live batting practice and caught fly balls for the second straight day Friday.
Harper started his fielding practice in right field while making throws to the infield before moving to left. Team ambassador Livan Hernandez pitched the batting-practice session.
Manager Matt Williams said Harper's thumb was "a little bit tender" after taking batting practice on the field Thursday for the first time since his injury in April. However, Williams said the tenderness was on the back of the thumb, and not on the side where the surgery was performed.
"[That pain] is to be expected, because he's doing a lot of strength stuff," Williams said. "But he was able to swing today with no issues and drive the ball. So he's right on schedule."
Williams still targets Harper's return to be on or around July 1. The manager said his plan is to send Harper on a rehab stint at some point during the Nationals' upcoming road trip, which could be as early as Monday.
"Once we get on the road, he could head out and get started with that process," Williams said.
Ramos set to begin rehab assignment
WASHINGTON -- Wilson Ramos (strained hamstring) left the Nationals' clubhouse Friday night with his bags packed for a four-game rehab assignment.
The catcher said he will be playing for Double-A Harrisburg on Saturday and Sunday before joining Class A Potomac for games on Monday and Tuesday. Ramos will then fly to Chicago on Wednesday to meet up with the team.
Ramos has been sidelined for the last nine games because of the hamstring. He also missed 32 games in April and May with a hamate fracture in his left hand.
Ripken among 24 draftees signed by Nats
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals agreed to terms with 24 players they selected in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, general manager Mike Rizzo and vice president of scouting operations Kris Kline announced Friday.
The Nationals agreed to terms with their draftees from Rounds 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, including 6-foot-1, 195-pound high school catcher Jakson Reetz out of Nebraska. Kline was particularly excited after drafting Reetz with the No. 93 overall pick in the third round on Day 2 of the Draft.
"He's got a really good feel to hit," Kline said. "You're looking at an offensive catcher at the big league level down the road."
Washington also signed its Round-14 selection, first baseman Ryan Ripken, who is the son of former Orioles great Cal Ripken and just finished his first season at Indian River (Fla.) State Junior College.
"There's immense pressure on that young man," manager Matt Williams said recently. "But I think he will handle it real well. Dad, uncle, grandfather ... great work ethic. We'll be happy to have him. If he can bring that work ethic to us, it will be nothing but a benefit."
The Nationals have yet to agree to terms with their first two selections of the Draft, right-hander Erick Fedde out of UNLV (Round 1, No. 18 overall) and left-hander Andrew Suarez out of Miami (Round 2, No. 57 overall).