Bryce Harper hopes to return Friday

BALTIMORE -- The Washington Nationals hope to have injured outfielder Bryce Harper back in the lineup Friday night in Atlanta.

Harper sat out for the fourth straight game Thursday with a left knee injury. Before the Nationals faced the Orioles, manager Davey Johnson said, "Bryce hit yesterday and was going to try to do a little more today."

Asked when Harper could return, Johnson replied, "We're shooting for tomorrow."

Harper says the swelling in the knee still has not subsided and that it "feels about the same."

He said, "It's just going to take time I guess."

If Harper plays in Atlanta, he will have to be in the field because the game will not feature a designated hitter.

Harper is batting .287, but is in a 12-for-67 slump.