- No mas: Principal bans Spanish language in intercom announcement
- Hacking software could put ‘zombie drone army’ in user’s hands
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- 10 whales dead, 41 others stranded in Everglades
- John Boehner faces bipartisan pressure to allow gay-rights vote
- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
- Rep. Duncan Hunter: While Obama prays for Iranian change, U.S. should ready its nukes
- Best company ever? Veteran Beer Co. exists to employ vets, provide quality beer
- Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program
- ‘Black Santa’ display at IU sparks student outrage
Nats recall Bryce Harper, place Ryan Zimmerman on DL
The Washington Nationals didn’t anticipate Bryce Harper’s major league debut to come this quickly, this hurriedly and on a weekend series across the country. But already without their cleanup hitter and needing to put third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the disabled list with right AC joint inflammation, the Nationals made the decision to call-up baseball’s most hyped power-hitting prospect.
“Suffice it to say, this isn’t the coming out party for Bryce that we had in mind,” said Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, who watched Harper play with Triple-A Syracuse for three days this week before making the decision. “This isn’t the optimal situation developmentally for Bryce.
“It’s to support the major league club in really a time that we need an offensive player who can play corner outfield,” Rizzo said. “We still have a very good and committed developmental plan in place for Bryce. I still believe very passionately in the plan but this was expedited by the circumstances — by two of our middle-of-the-lineup guys going down in [Michael Morse] and Ryan Zimmerman — and we thought that we needed to bring in an impactful left-handed bat that could play the corner outfield.”
Morse won’t be available until at least June as he heals from a torn right lat muscle and Zimmerman, who saw Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles on Friday morning, is expected to need more rest for his inflamed right shoulder. Zimmerman is not believed to need much more time, if any, than the disabled list allows and will be eligible to come off it by May 6.
The Nationals have had a plan in place for Harper’s development since before they tabbed the 19-year-old with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft. When they sent Harper to minor league camp midway through spring training this year, calling him up to the big leagues this soon was not a part of that plan. Harper was to go to Triple-A, learn center field and join the big league club when he could be fill their need for an everyday center fielder.
But the Nationals were dying for offensive production, even before Zimmerman went down with an injury, and the players they’ve had filling in for Morse in left field have combined for an .097 batting average, .207 on-base percentage and .125 slugging percentage. Even if Harper is not as ready as the Nationals wanted him to be before they made this jump, the feeling is that he can’t do much worse than that.
“He’s just a good ballplayer,” said manager Davey Johnson. “And he has earned the right to have this opportunity. We have a need for a left-handed hitter. He fits the role, and it’s the right move.”
“If it doesn’t workout in the major leagues, we certainly can send him down,” Rizzo said, referencing what the Los Angeles Angels did with fellow outfield phenom Mike Trout in 2011. That idea, though, represents a departure for Rizzo and the Nationals who’ve maintained from the moment they selected Harper than they would prefer his first major league call-up to be his last.
The Nationals left Harper in the minor leagues just long enough to ensure they’d retain his rights through the 2018 season.
“I believe we’re going to get the best out of Bryce Harper, and this is going to be a good aid in developing what I believe is going to be quite a player in the big leagues,” Rizzo said, leaving open the door for the Nationals to desert any plan that would involve Harper returning to the minor leagues by excelling when he arrives.
“That is a distinct possibility,” Rizzo said. “I’m a scout and player development guy at heart and I believe you have to take certain steps to achieve long-term success in the big leagues. He obviously could make me abandon it, and I hope he does. I’m also reserved to the possibility that this might not be his breakout moment. This could be a step sideways to take a leap forward.”
A traditionally slow starter at each level of the minors, Harper began the Triple-A season much the same way. However, in his last 10 games, Harper hit .290 with a .421 on-base percentage and struck his first home run in his 16th game.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
- What will Nationals do this offseason to contend again in 2014?
- As Nationals' manager search begins, Randy Knorr the players' choice
- Davey Johnson's big-league journey ends with Nationals loss
- Team spirit and Holy Spirit — for Nationals religion looms large on and off the field
- Jordan Zimmermann falls short of 20th win as Cardinals prevail again
Latest Blog Entries
- A fond farewell, and a bit of thanks
- Nationals coaches wait in limbo as team searches for next manager
- Davey Johnson won't be in uniform for Nationals in spring training
- Tanner Roark starts season finale with youthful lineup behind him (UPDATED)
- Dan Haren, Nationals top Diamondbacks in season's penultimate game
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Puerto Rico caravan honoring Paul Walker ends in 6 drunken-driving arrests, 72 speeding tickets
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Xbox One, Playstation 4 games penalize users for cursing in their own homes
- MILLER: Obamas EPA closing smelter will not affect ammunition supply
- Pentagon may give recruits 'a shot to start over' after shameful social media posts
- Tipsforjesus mystery diner leaves huge tips across America
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Playing Through covers the world of PGA golf, as well as tips your the average golfer to play better.
The only thing broken about our immigration policy has been our collective cowardice as a nation to enforce our current immigration laws
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.