The Washington Nationals will activate slugger Bryce Harper Monday when they take on the Philadelphia Phillies, according to the Washington Post. Jamie Collier of said the Nationals did not confirm the report, which was published after Washington's 3-2 win over the New York Mets Sunday. Monday's game marks Harper's first game since he suffered a hyperextended left knee, bone bruise and strained calf on Aug. 12. The return will give him seven days to prepare for the start of the National League Division Series.

Earlier, Nationals manager Dusty Baker said the team will determine if Harper will play games in the instructional league or directly return to the Nats' lineup and play in the final week of the regular season.

Baker also raised the possibility that the Nationals might keep Harper in a controlled environment and send him to their complex in West Palm Beach, Florida and prepare him for the playoffs.

Harper took batting practice

On Sunday, Harper took batting practice for the first time and followed it with his first simulated game Tuesday. He also snagged fly balls and ran the bases to test his injury. On Saturday, he took the field together with a pair of Minor League pitchers -- right-hander Steven Fuentes and left-hander Alex Troop – for his second simulated game. Before he was injured, Harper is hitting .326 with 131 hits, 29 homers, and 87 RBIs in 106 games.

Nationals move closer to home-field advantage

On Sept. 10, the Nationals became the first MLB team to clinch a playoff berth after beating the Philadelphia Phillies for an 88-55 mark. On that date, the Nationals were 20 games ahead of the Miami Marlins in the NL East. Now, the Nationals have a chance to clinch home-field advantage in the NL Division Series after beating the New York Mets, 4-3, in 10 innings Saturday at Citi Field.

The Nationals can clinch the advantage with a win or if the Chicago Cubs lose to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Daniel Murphy hit the tie-breaking long ball in the 10th inning while Sean Doolittle tossed a perfect 10th for his 20th save of the season as the Nationals improved to 93-61. Sammy Solis (1-0) took the win while starter Stephen Strasburg lasted five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts.

After the Mets took a 3-0 lead, Adam Lind responded with a two-run homer in the bottom part of the third. Matt Wieters tied the count with a solo shot in the 5th and Murphy tallied the game-winning homer in the 10th. Jacob Rhame (0-1) took the loss after giving up Murphy’s solo shot that doomed the Mets (66-88).