The Washington Times - March 10, 2011, 12:21PM

Between the fanfare for his arrival and the new catchphrases he seems to throw into the baseball lexicon daily — the latest that he’s feeling “hitterish” — Bryce Harper has been quite an attraction in Nationals camp this spring.

Not to mention he’s hitting .357 (5-for-14) in his first look at major league pitching.


The Harper Show has been fun to watch, even from afar. He seems to have handled the media extremely well, his teammates say they respect the way he plays the game and he’s made an impression with how quickly he’s made adjustments to his game.

The only question now is how much longer the Nationals are going to keep him in major league camp.

Nationals manager Jim Riggleman told reporters this week that the team is expecting to make a round of cuts sometime this coming weekend (Friday or Saturday). He didn’t tip his hand about whether or not the 18-year-old would be included in that group.

Harper is apparently on the roster for both ends of the Nationals day-night split squad today, as he eagerly tweeted this morning, and he’s 4-for-6 in his last four games. Perhaps this weekend is the perfect time to send Harper down to minor league camp and let him build on the confidence he’s developed with the big club the past few weeks. 

In other news and notes: Riggleman confirmed to reporters today that tonight’s starter against Houston, Tom Gorzelanny, is one of the safer bets for the fifth spot in the rotation, despite the fact that this will be his first official start of the Grapefruit League season. 

“We got him over here to start,” Riggleman told reporters. “We’re going into this thing thinking he’s one of our starters. We anticipate him getting stretched out in plenty of time to start whatever slot he takes in the rotation. That’s where we are with it right now. There is competition in the camp, but we brought him in here to be a starter, and that’s what we anticipate.”

Also, Jayson Werth told Riggleman he was set to go today after taking Wednesday off with “general soreness.” Ryan Zimmerman will miss his third straight game with an abdominal strain, though he will take batting practice indoors as usual.