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Harper will play in exhibition opener

Feb 24, 2011, 3:26 PM EDT

VIERA, Fla. — Bryce Harper won't have to wait long to make his spring training debut. The 18-year-old phenom is scheduled to appear in the Nationals' Grapefruit League opener on Monday against the Mets.

Manager Jim Riggleman said Harper will be on the Nationals' travel squad for the 1:10 p.m. game in Port St. Lucie. The young outfielder, who is in big-league camp despite having yet to play in a regular-season, minor-league game, won't start but is slated to come off the bench and get at least one at-bat.

Harper's spring training playing time is expected to be minimal. He's unlikely to start any games, and he'll probably be among the first round of cuts approximately seven-to-10 days after the exhibition schedule begins.

"I'm hoping that he kind of blends in," Riggleman said. "I'm not looking for him to excel against major-league pitching."

Veteran right-hander Chad Gaudin, attempting to make the roster as either the fifth starter or as a long reliever, will pitch the first two or three innings against the Mets. Other pitchers scheduled to appear inRead more »

  1. Big Cat - Feb 24, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    Harper needs to play Tuesday……with the big dogs

  2. Jim Webster - Feb 24, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    nationals.com website schedule says Monday's game will be broadcast by MLBN on tape delay. Anyone have a guess what time it will run?

  3. alexva - Feb 24, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    MLB Network site shows the game listed for 9:30.

  4. Steve M. - Feb 24, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    I poached this from MLBTR about the other internationals signings:Left-handed pitchers Joel Barrientos (17, Dominican Republic), Brian Escolastico (18, Dominican Republic) and Hector Silvestre (18, Dominican Republic); right-handed pitchers Anderson Martinez (18, Venezuela), Gilberto Mendez (18, Dominican Republic) and Felix Moscat (20, Dominican Republic); catchers Pedro Severino (17, Dominican Republic) and Jorge Tillero (17, Venezuela); first baseman Arialdi Peguero (18, Dominican Republic); shortstop Yewri Guillen (18, Dominican Republic); third baseman Diomedes Eusebio (18, Dominican Republic); and outfielders Juan De Los Santos (17, Venezuela), Wilman Rodriguez (19, Dominican Republic) and Dioncio Rosario (17, Dominican Republic).Does anyone have the 2010/2011 International rankings to see where Read and Novas were on the chart?MLBTR says… Outfielder Randy Novas and catcher Raudy Read will receive $150K and $130K, respectively.From what I understand that once you go over that $100,000 level the player has to be a significant prospect but I don't know enough about any of these kids to know if that is the case. What I do know is that this is a significant development of the Nats going back into the DR and getting players.

  5. Doc - Feb 24, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    Protocol and ST roster depth charts don't seem to allow for it, but we are all waiting for Uncle Jimmy and Ratzo to reveal their inner baseball fan and let Harp play a full game!

  6. DFL - Feb 24, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    I like Harper's attitude. He should want to make the big squad. Yount and Kaline started at 18 and Griffey Jr. and Upton at 19. It took a year or so for Kaline, Griffey and Upton to hit for big power. For Yount, it took five years or so for his power numbers to take off. Neabwhile, Pujols was a rookie at 21 and hit 37 homers and knocked in 130 runs. He was the finished product and how! Something to shoot for. If Harper can hit 25 homers and knock in 85+ runs at age 20, all Nats fans should be happy.In the end, 2011 should have Harper play two months at Hagerstown, two months at Potomac and a final month in Harrisburg with a September call-up to mostly watch and learn, pinch hit, and help draw crowds. 2012 should see Harper start in Harrisburg, jump to Syracuse for the summer, and start in DC for the final month. Hopefully he'll be in left-field with Corey Brown in center and Werth in right.

  7. DFL - Feb 24, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    Meanwhile, not Neabwhile

  8. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 24, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    This is off-topic but talking about the MLB Network showing Monday's game in Prime Time has me thinking that finally the Nats have players that are set for Prime Time in Strasburg, BHarper, Zim, Werth, Pudge, etc.There is a great marketing opportunity that the Nats haven't had before Strasburg which is national exposure and if you throw in Chien Ming-Wang, internationals exposure. This has to revive the distinct possibility of the Nats trying to sell the Stadium naming rights and turn it into a BIG money maker.CitiField was named a couple years ago at $20 million a year and a few weeks ago in LA they announced they are naming a football stadium for Farmer's Insurance for $600,000,000 over 30 years. Here's the catch on that, the stadium hasn't been built and they have no NFL team yet.OK, those are huge cities but Washington is the Capital of the world and maybe they don't get to $20 million a year but $7.5 to $15 million a year should now be a distinct possibility and give this team a real injection of cash to spend on International signings, Draft picks and more Free Agents.http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2011/01/Jan-31/Facilities/AEG-Farmers.aspx

  9. P. Cole - Feb 24, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    Raudy Read sounds like a wrestler.

  10. NatinBeantown - Feb 24, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    On the new signees: WaPo ran a good story on the changes in the DR facilities and our Latin American scouting and signing efforts. There's a discussion about the new guys, including Read and Novas, as well as the team's efforts to go younger with smaller bonuses and a more professional Academy setup:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/07/AR2011020705551.html

  11. Ken - Feb 24, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    After reading this article, as well as others over the past couple of days, we can plainly see that Harper won’t be given the slightest chance of showing whether or not he's good enough to make the big league roster.It also means that “the plan” for him is set in stone, and from this fans perspective, it's as though the Nats are afraid of giving him the opportunity, for fear he actually might stand out among the other roster candidates. The Nats could never let that happen, because they might end up looking bad when they send him to the minor league camp.With zero to minimal chances of his getting a fair opportunity, you have to feel bad for Harper, whose destiny is to help fill the coffers of the minor league teams, not help the Nats, that is, if he’s good enough to make the team.If I was Harper, I would be pissed and not just a little at not being given the same chances older players will be getting.It's always been my opinion, than regardless of circumstances, options or whatever, that the best 25 players should be on the opening day roster each year. The sad fact is we'll never know for sure if Harper is one of those 25, because he’s already locked into the opening day lineup for the Suns.If he's not one of the 25, that's fine too, but at least give him the chance to prove it either way, but to not give him the opportunity to get his foot in the door (if he’s able), it totally unfair, to him and Nats fans, because any good baseball fan knows no player will ever be in top form coming off the bench. It’s clear to me at least, that “the plan” of having Harper coming off the bench is how they will prevent him from shining too bright and in the process, increasing the chance of them looking like they made the right decision by sending him to the minor league camp.This is just me, but I say, give Harper an equal opportunity to soar or fall. We need to find out if Harper truly is the LaBron James of baseball, because if he is, and to not give him the chance to show it, would be an injustice.

  12. Anonymous - Feb 24, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    Assuming Pujols was actually 21. I doubt that. The difference in his stats and the other guys' stats is evidence that suggests (but doesn't prove) Pujols is older than he clains. Just a thought…fpcsteve

  13. Steve M. - Feb 24, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    fpcsteve – Based on looks I thought Pujols was 38 but then again Cal Ripken looked old when he got into his 30's.I would agree with you though that Pujols is certainly older than 31 and that is why he didn't project high in the Amateur Draft.I do believe Smileygate has made a difference in real ages in the DR.

  14. Avar - Feb 24, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    @Ken – have to disagree with you. Harper has ZERO professional at bats. As we have seen countless times, one good month does not prove you're a major leaguer. So, even if he killed it in Spring, that doesn't mean he's ready. Plus, it's spring, he won't even hit regulars that often so even if he killed, it would be tainted.The worst thing that could happen, barring injury, is for him to kill it in spring, make the team and hit .220 for three months.If he kills it in the minors, I'm all for giving him a look next spring but not now. His age isn't even the issue, it's his total lack of professional experience.As for unfair. He already got a $9m major league contract. A year in the minors won't hurt him.

  15. Anonymous - Feb 24, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    If position players were allowed to truly fight it out rather than annoint people starters…Morgan/Morse/Bernadina…the starting OF this year would be Werth, Brown and Harper!!

  16. Anonymous - Feb 24, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    Boswell wrote a convincing article that great young hitters take a year or two of seasoning before getting to the next level. Harper is young and should get that seasoning in the minors. They also want to get him acclimated to the professional life. They are simply not going to throw this kid to the wolves right off the bat. Rizzo: :We're not that stupid."Second thing is just like Strasburg they would bring him up at the earliest the second or third week of June this year to extend his arbitration year one more year. You want to control him at the end of his contract for another full year (albeit at arbitration prices)in exchange for the luxury of bringing him up at age 18 10 weeks early. Finally, They have 24 other guys to consider. When Strasburg came up and the circus came to town some of the other guys faded into the background and just watched. They don't want Harper to disrupt the ST camp and have all the other guys standing around watching the circus.They will move Harper out of major league camp ASAP. No chance he goes north with the big club.

  17. Feel Wood - Feb 24, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    Just like any player, Harper needs to pay his dues before he sets foot on a major league field. He needs to show that he can do the job in the minor leagues, even if only for a brief time at each level. And if he is really as good as people seem to think, his time in the minors will be brief. But it can't be zero.And of course had Harper signed immediately after being drafted last June instead of waiting until the absolute last second, he would have gone to A ball immediately and by now might be ready for AA or even AAA. Had he followed Ryan Zimmerman's lead and signed right away, he might even have earned a September callup last year and a chance to show his stuff then instead of now in spring training. But he didn't do that – and that was his own choice, nobody else's.

  18. Mark'd - Feb 24, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    P2P – to digress along with you on the grand marketing plan I recall back in 2007 that Exxon Mobil wanted the naming rights but gas prices were so high at the time the Lerners didn't find it appropriate to do the deal. Not sure if there is 100% truth to that except you bring up a good point that there finally is a marketing opportunity.Also of note is the All Star game will be played in DC by hopefully 2017 and any company would like stadium naming rights for that opportunity alone.

  19. Anonymous - Feb 24, 2011 at 5:50 PM

    pay to play: Not looking forward to GEICO park. blech! I know a lot of great players come out of the DR but it sounds like if you can walk straight and know what end of a bat to hold some MLB team is going to sign you.

  20. Doc - Feb 24, 2011 at 5:50 PM

    I'm not against Harp spending time in the minors, I'd just like to see his motivation to achieve in ST receive a little more positive response from the brain trust—and I use that term loosely.The worst case scenario for keeping a player in his place, was Wade Boggs who was kept in the minors for about 6-7 years. Don't think that's gonna happen here, though.

  21. Theophilus - Feb 24, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    And Wade Boggs's 7-8 years in the minors advanced his maturity not one whit. Looked at another way, imagine what a jerk he would have been if he'd never spent a day in the minors. Your point is?

  22. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 24, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    Anon @ 12:50, doubt it would be GEICO Park because supposedly Berkshire Hathaway's chairman Warren Buffett doesn't believe his entities should be spending big money for stadium naming rights.My point was that this is big money and a quick infusion into the coffers to spend on Free Agents etc so they can call it just about any decent name. Nationals Park at Exxon Field. LOLCitiField Queens, N.Y. Citibank N.A. $400 million 20 years $20.0 million per year Reliant Stadium Houston, TX Reliant Energy $310 million 31 years $10.0 million per yearGillette Stadium Foxboro, MA Global Gillette $240 million 15 years $8.0 mill per yearFedEx Field Landover, Md. FedEx Corp. $205 million 27 years $7.59 million per yearMinute Maid Park Houston Coca-Cola Co. $178 million 28 years $6.36 million per year Univ. of Phoenix Stadium Glendale, AZ Apollo Group $154 million 20 years $7.72 mill per yearBank of America Stadium Charlotte BofA $140 million 20 years $7.0 million per year Lincoln Financial Field Philly, PA Lincoln Nat $139 million 20 years $6.98 mill per yearLucas Oil Stadium Indy Lucas Oil Products $121 million 20 years $6.07 million per year

  23. Ken - Feb 24, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    @Avar – I am well aware that Harper has no professional at bats. What I'm saying is that he should be given the same chance others will be given, not that he should be handed a spot on the roster.BTW, given the choice of watching Harper develop and hit .220 for a few months, is much more appealing to me than being forced to watch Morgan play every day. I mean, please, if the choice is Harper or Morgan, it's a no brainer, and I'm sure by more fans than just me.I just want Harper to be given a fair chance, not that he be handed the right field job. If he hits anything over .250 in the major league camp, wouldn't that help excite fans who'll be paying to watch him play in the minors? After all, if he can hit big league pitching for a decent average, I would think that most fans would be jacked about him facing minor league pitchers?

  24. N. Cognito - Feb 24, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    Give me Harper's money and start feeling bad for me.Geeeessh!

  25. Steve M. - Feb 24, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    Come on, why are we even discussing whether or not BHarper should make the 25 man. He needs Minor League time for maturing.Let's have a serious discussion when we see how he does against someone's #1 or #2 pitcher.We know he can play as we saw in the AFL but until we see how he does against the better half of MLB pitching we are arguing without full knowledge and way too many "ifs".I think Riggs is trying to downplay all of this and protect Harper from himself in a typical "Father Knows Best" scenario.

  26. N. Cognito - Feb 24, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    Steve M. said… "ome on, why are we even discussing whether or not BHarper should make the 25 man. He needs Minor League time for maturing."Because when you have a blog or message board, there's always a good number of posters that think they should be GMs or field managers.Harper will get to the major leagues when he belongs in the major leagues.

  27. Tcostant - Feb 24, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    Ken – I really don't think you get it. Sure he may be one of the best 25 guys already, but do you want a average major leaguer or a stud after he was seasoned in the minors and is ready to be a stud. I don't want to waste one to two years of major league service time while Harper gets his feet wet in the majors. I want him ready to dominate once he gets here.

  28. MGG - Feb 24, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    I don't see why people call for Harper to stay in Major league camp, he did live BP the other day and didn't do so well from what I recall, and that was against the scrubs of our system, let alone a legit #1 or #2.Please, Harper needs to shut his mouth and pay his dues in the minors like everyone else. Did Strasburg bitch and moan like this? No, and Harper shouldn't either.

  29. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 24, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    What N. Cognito said…..

  30. Anonymous - Feb 24, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Feel Wood said:And of course had Harper signed immediately after being drafted last June instead of waiting until the absolute last second, he would have gone to A ball immediately and by now might be ready for AA or even AAA. Had he followed Ryan Zimmerman's lead and signed right away, he might even have earned a September callup last year and a chance to show his stuff then instead of now in spring training. But he didn't do that – and that was his own choice, nobody else's.That's the big point, I think, and where Boras actually didn't serve the needs of his client as well as he could have.

  31. Anonymous - Feb 24, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Mark, Once all the minor leaguers arive would it be possible to make a list of new players and players who did not return.ThanksRyan

  32. Rob Dibble's Ghost - Feb 24, 2011 at 6:46 PM

    DCRTV raises an excellent question today: how come there's no official news yet on the WJFK radio deal? The Nats website still lists WFED as the flagship, and the first games are only days away. Please don't tell me this deal isn't going to happen!

  33. Anonymous - Feb 24, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    Ditto to what N. Cognito said about Harper and timing and what MGG said about Harper paying his dues and simmering down.fpcsteve

  34. JD - Feb 24, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    Ken, Just a few thoughts: 1) Harper's AFL stint was considered very succsesful but he swung and missed at all breaking balls away. 2) Harper almost always swung at the first pitch; no working the pitch count; no plate discipline. 3) Young pitchers in the AFL were all trying to throw the ball through a wall; they were not MLB veterans who will mix their pitches. 4) MLB pitchers will discover Harper's weaknesses in a week and he will see nothing but breaking balls away until he lays off or is able to hit it. 5) I predict that Harper will be succsesful at low 'A' ball but will take his lumps at Potomac ; it's a big leap forward (Burgess, Marrero killed at Hagerstown but were seriously challenged at Potomac. 6) Success at spring training does not by any stretch translate into success during the regular season. 7) You do not want your best prospect to be over matched; it takes a long time to recover one's confidence (check out Justin Smoak). None of this is an indictment of Harper but I applaud the Nats for having a plan in place and to avoid letting a small sample change their plan; there is nothing wrong with a 2 year apprenticeship in the minors; he will still only be 20 in 2 years.

  35. N. Cognito - Feb 24, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    Harper does not need to simmer down nor does he need to keep his mouth shut. All he said was he wants to make the major league team this season. It's perfectly reasonable for him to set that goal and to tell people that's what his goal is.I suspect he's fully aware and accepting that he will be starting the season in the minors.

  36. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 24, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    And what JD said…..and I've seen him play for a three week period in the Fall Instructional League where he was successful but not overly so.

  37. Anonymous - Feb 24, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    I think Harper will handle Potomac just fine and will be rapidly promoted. Its in Harrisburg and especially Syracuse where Harper will be regularly challenged. There you will find major league pitchers (some with years of major league experience) not afraid to work backwards, not afraid to use breaking balls as their strike out pitch. 1-2 years mostly in Syracuse should be enough to even satisfy old man Riggleman.

  38. DFL - Feb 24, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    Ironically, there's a very good chance Riggleman will never manage Harper unless Harper receives a September call-up.

  39. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 24, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    My only negative observation seeing a very small sample of Bryce Harper is plate discipline.He will be most successful in the MLB when he takes his walks and isn't going after the pitchers junk.

  40. Anonymous - Feb 24, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    Ironically, there's a very good chance Riggleman will never manage Harper unless Harper receives a September call-up.I would be a great present to fans to see Randy Knorr come along with Harper to the major leagues.

  41. Mark'd - Feb 24, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    P2P – let's hope he isn't going after the "pitchers junk"

  42. Dave - Feb 24, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    Bottom line is take a look at the last two rookie stars that had emerged in the minors, Heyward and Posey. Both got at least 600AB's in the minors before getting called up.Heyward even struggled towards the latter half of last season, he was fighting off injuries, but it shows it is a grind for these young players.

  43. hondo69 - Feb 24, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    Here's the link for all of this spring's MLB Network exhibition broadcasts:http://mlb.mlb.com/network/schedule/live_games.jsp

  44. MM - Feb 24, 2011 at 8:34 PM

    6) Success at spring training does not by any stretch translate into success during the regular season.this

  45. Theophilus - Feb 24, 2011 at 8:52 PM

    Apropos Heyward and Stanton (and Stanton still struck out like a windmill last season) — Matt Wieters had about two months of minor league ball and hasn't come within leagues — literally — of his potential.

  46. Another_Sam - Feb 24, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    Radio — call me old school on this: I can't get used to the sound of baseball on FM, without the background hiss of AM. [Of course, if it's xM, FM, or nothing, I'll take xM and FM.] Anybody else find baseball on FM sounds just not quite right?

  47. Edward J. Cunningham - Feb 25, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    This is for PAY TO PLAYI really hope the Nats NEVER sell the naming rights to the ballpark. I absolutely HATE that modern stadiums have turned into giant billboards. Teams like the Angels and Rangers understand what's important—they actually bought BACK the naming rights of their stadiums to rename them after the teams themselves—Angel Stadium of Anaheim and Rangers Ballpark.If the Mets' management were smart, they would have reasoned "The Yankees feel they don't need to sell the name of their ballpark. Therefore, we won't either—the new stadium will be called Mets Ballpark so Mets fans can say 'we're going to the Ballpark' just as Yankee fans have said 'we're going to the Stadium.'"In our case, the Orioles haven't sold the naming rights to OPACY. Should we really be ROOTING for the Nats to sell out?

  48. Drew8 - Feb 25, 2011 at 3:35 AM

    Boz didn't mention him in the Harper piece, but Henry Aaron is another all-time great who needed time to reach his power potential.Aaron hit 13 at age 20; 27 at age 21 and 26 at age 22.Then No. 44 cracked 44 at age 23.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 79 15.0
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Sunday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (4) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 67 2.5
y-ST. LOUIS 87 69 4.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 71 7.0 --
PITTSBURGH 84 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 11.5 4.5
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y-Clinched playoff berth
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