The Washington Times - July 4, 2011, 10:12AM

After 72 games with Single-A Hagerstown, Nationals top prospect Bryce Harper has made the next step in his progression to the major leagues with a promotion this morning to Double-A Harrisburg, sources told the Washington Times.

The long-awaited promotion came after the outfielder went 5-for-11 in his last three games with the Suns and is hitting .318 on the season with Hagerstown. After sitting out several games in the final week of June with a bruised bone in his left thumb, Harper has played five straight games for Hagerstown with no reported issues.


He is expected to represent the organization in Phoenix, Ariz., on Sunday in the MLB Futures Game, along with right-hander Brad Peacock. 

During his stay in Hagerstown, Harper, a South Atlantic League All-Star, hit 14 home runs, drove in 46 runs, slugged .554 and got on-base at an impressive .423 clip.

His performance with Single-A Hagerstown and the maturation process that went on there for him obviously was enough for the Nationals to feel he’d be able to bypass Single-A Potomac and head right to Double-A. 

Harper will most likely make his Double-A debut tonight when the Senators host Erie at 7 p.m.