For one day at least, the Nationals had Bryce Harper, Steven Strasburg, Cole Kimball, Derek Norris, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman all inside the home clubhouse at Nationals Park.
Sure, Harper — and other minor leaguers Norris and Kimball — along with Strasburg, will be headed back to Viera, Fla. tomorrow morning to continue minor league spring training and rehab (in the case of Strasburg). But for a few brief hours the future was here.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner. “It’s great to see them all in there. It’s like going to sleep-away camp and meeting everybody and unpacking their bags. It’s a pretty cool scene in the clubhouse right now.”
While Harper, Strasburg, Norris, Kimball and Chien-Ming Wang were only flown in for the team’s workout and NatsFest Wednesday afternoon, it was just enough of a taste of the big leagues to remind them of what they’re working toward in the minor leagues and on rehab assignment.
“It’s nice to be back here,” Strasburg said. “It feels like I was here just yesterday, but it’s going to be tough going back to Florida, that’s for sure.”
“(It’s) pretty hard (to be here and not play),” Harper said. “But it’s all about everybody else right now. It’s all about (Ryan Zimmerman) and (Jayson Werth) and the guys that are going to be here so I just want to go out there and have some fun with all the guys and hopefully get up here pretty soon.
“You dream for Opening Day. You dream for coming up here and being at fanfest and being with all the guys… I’m just really excited to be up here right now and just take it all in.”