May 18, 2011, 7:23 PM EDT
Updated at 6:10 p.m.
NEW YORK — Don’t hold your breath waiting for Bryce Harper to reach the big leagues this season. According to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, that’s not a possibility.
During both a radio appearance this afternoon and again later during a session with beat reporters, Rizzo made it clear he’s already decided Harper won’t debut in Washington in 2011.
“It’s not gonna happen,” he said on ESPN 980 AM’s “The Sports Fix” with Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro, “because he’s not ready for that to happen.”
Harper, 18, is hitting .366 with nine homers, 32 RBI and a 1.105 OPS in his first 37 minor-league games, all at low-Class A Hagerstown. He’s still learning how to play the outfield on a regular basis, though, and team officials believe he still needs to master several other aspects of the game.
For now, that will still take place in the South Atlantic League, though a promotion to high-Class A Potomac could be forthcoming.
“We like the adjustments he’s made at the plate,” Rizzo said at Citi Field before tonight’s scheduled game against the Mets. “We like the adjustments he’s made specifically against left-handed pitching, which
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