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Posted at 10:22 AM ET, 02/24/2011

Bryce Harper will likely play, but not start, in the Nationals spring training opener at the Mets

By Adam Kilgore

bryce01.jpg

Bryce Harper will travel with the Nationals to their first game of the spring training, meaning the first overall pick's first action against a major league opponent will likely come Monday in Port St. Lucie against the New York Mets. Harper will not start, but "I'll try to get him an at-bat in that game," Manager Jim Riggleman said.

Harper, 18, has high-level professional experience from the 2010 Arizona Fall League, but playing in an exhibition game against major leaguers will be a new step in his development. At 18, Harper will be the youngest player any time he steps on a major league spring training field. Harper will likely remain with the Nationals for roughly seven to 10 days once games begin before joining the Nationals' minor league camp.

"While he's with us, I would just like him to get his work, get his game situations that we put him in," Riggleman said. "I'm hoping that he kind of blends in. I'm not looking for him excel against major league pitching. But the more that he kind of goes up there and looks like the rest of them, if he didn't have Harper on his back, if he blended in and put the barrel on the ball a few times, I think we'd say, 'That's a pretty good ballplayer there.' "

The Nationals will leave Adam LaRoche, Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth behind for their first trip. Nyjer Morgan, Michael Morse, Jerry Hairston, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and Roger Bernadina will make the trip.

Chad Gaudin will start the game, and Craig Stammen, Brian Broderick, Todd Coffey and Doug Slaten will all pitch at least one inning, Riggleman said.

The day following their first game, the Mets will travel to Viera to play at Space Coast Stadium. Livan Hernandez will start that game.

By Adam Kilgore  | February 24, 2011; 10:22 AM ET
 
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Comments

No post on the 14 new int'l signees??

Posted by: dfh21 | February 24, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Why, he already broke the story with the lead two on the list? Give the guy his due will ya?

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Per MLBTR . . .

"Nats Agree To Terms With 14 International Prospects
By Mike Axisa [February 24 at 8:55am CST]
In addition to the previously reported Randy Novas and Raudy Reed, the Nationals have agreed to terms with 14 international free agents per a team press release. Here is the list of players, per the release...

Left-handed pitchers Joel Barrientos (17, Dominican Republic), Brian Escolastico (18, Dominican Republic) and Hector Silvestre (18, Dominican Republic); right-handed pitchers Anderson Martinez (18, Venezuela), Gilberto Mendez (18, Dominican Republic) and Felix Moscat (20, Dominican Republic); catchers Pedro Severino (17, Dominican Republic) and Jorge Tillero (17, Venezuela); first baseman Arialdi Peguero (18, Dominican Republic); shortstop Yewri Guillen (18, Dominican Republic); third baseman Diomedes Eusebio (18, Dominican Republic); and outfielders Juan De Los Santos (17, Venezuela), Wilman Rodriguez (19, Dominican Republic) and Dioncio Rosario (17, Dominican Republic).

Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post wrote about the team's efforts to improve its presence in Latin America earlier this month."

Maybe that press release is old. I saw Adam's piece on Novas and Read and also the one o nthe DR efforts, but hte list of the players was news to me.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 24, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

"..will likely play, but not start..."
What's the big deal about 'starting'? These guys still have bragging rights about who's 'first string'?

Posted by: scmonty1 | February 24, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

>>"..will likely play, but not start..."
What's the big deal about 'starting'? These guys still have bragging rights about who's 'first string'?

Posted by: scmonty1

The idiots don't want to hurt him by starting him. That would be rushing him. C'mon man, it's beats talking about your rotation getting torched!

Posted by: Brue | February 24, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Given that 2011 is a lost year, Brue, care to address the idea that the Nats are actually being smart by not "starting [Harper's] clock" until 2012 (mentioned elsewhere by other)?

Or does that not fit in with your narrative?

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | February 24, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

>Given that 2011 is a lost year, Brue, care to address the idea that the Nats are actually being smart by not "starting [Harper's] clock" until 2012 (mentioned elsewhere by other)?

Or does that not fit in with your narrative?

Posted by: stevie_in_gp

What clock? I thought his deal was a straight major league deal, unlike Strasburg's. In other words, he's signed for five years or whatever, and no matter when he starts playing in the majors, the deal is the same length regardless. I think people are assuming things that don't exist. Of course, I could be wrong, but as far as I know, the guy will be a free agent at the exact same time whether he spends time in the minors or not. Care to address that in your narrative, or are you gonna assume that they'll control him for another year that he's not signed for if they hold him back?

Posted by: Brue | February 24, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Brue, that's the first I heard of Harper not being beholden to a Strasburg-type deal.

Despite the snark of the last question (you're always fun to goad), I was about 95% serious - appreciate you treating it as such.

Would be nice to get absolute confirmation of this.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | February 24, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Service time on the major league club active roster starts his arbitration/free agency "clock" so, sorry to say, you are wrong on this one.

Posted by: 3B11 | February 24, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Brue: "Of course, I could be wrong"

And of course, the Pope could be Catholic. And a bear could s*** in the woods. And a clam's arse could be watertight.

Posted by: FeelWood | February 24, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Players become a free agent after 6 years of major league service. Just having a major league deal doesn't start your clock.

The major league deal does affect his options. Normally, he wouldn't be able to be optioned to the minors for more than 3 seasons without having to clear waivers. However, because he would have less than 5 years of pro experience, he could be optioned for a 4th season. Basically, he's guaranteed a spot on the 25 man roster by opening day 2015, or he'd have to be put on waivers.

I'm guessing he'll be up before then.

Posted by: sollazo | February 24, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

>Posted by: FeelWood

Time and place.

Posted by: Brue | February 24, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Sooo, long-story-endless, Brue IS wrong (shocker) and giving Master Harper a year of seasoning in the minors WOULD delay his free agency clock?

Hmm.

(And again, I have no dog/narrative, I'm just curious what the facts is.)

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | February 24, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

>>Despite the snark of the last question (you're always fun to goad), I was about 95% serious - appreciate you treating it as such.

Would be nice to get absolute confirmation of this.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp

No problem. I'm fired up on Harper baybee!! I figured I was right because that's what I had heard - see - they weren't talking about bringing him up in a couple of months, only at the start of next season. With Strasburg it was always 'we'll bring him up in June' or whatever. There's no excuse not to have him on the roster asap. These morons think that they're somehow hurting his development. Boz was even lame enough to site Griffey Jr. trying to commit suicide - as far as I can tell, Harper's father isn't an a-hole like Griffey Sr. was, so I see no reason why he should swallow 300 aspirin. Nice try anyway, Boz. People don't kill themselves over baseball, it's because they're taking a bunch of sh** off the field. Being on the field is a relief, nobody can beat your ass while you're playing. Trust me, I know.

Posted by: Brue | February 24, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Dude, if you're now threatening to beat up people on this blog

>Posted by: FeelWood

Time and place.

Posted by: Brue | February 24, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

you probably should hire some goons: I doubt FeelWood would be alone.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | February 24, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

>>Sooo, long-story-endless, Brue IS wrong (shocker) and giving Master Harper a year of seasoning in the minors WOULD delay his free agency clock?

Posted by: stevie_in_gp

Oh I see, you think that keeping him in the minors is 'seasoning'. Still buying into that thing that they're going to be a contender next year and it's better to wait. To each his own. I'd rather see him now, because I'm sure as hell not gonna tune in to see this mess Pants has got going this year.

Posted by: Brue | February 24, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

>Posted by: stevie_in_gp

Are you threatening me?

Posted by: Brue | February 24, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Don't think so - just stating my reading of the consensus on this here blog (and others). I have no issue with people going after each other on the blog, I just find it funny when people DO threaten physical confrontation.

"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you."

I just enjoy giving you grief because you take it so poorly. If there's another way to read your comment to FeelWood, I'm sure we're all ears.

(And since you can't read so good, I'll reiterate: I have no dog in this fight re: Harper. I'd enjoy seeing him up here this year as well. But I have no problem playing devil's advocate by using the language - "seasoning" - that seems standard in the other argument. Especially when you take it so gosh darn well.)

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | February 24, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Look man, I don't like sitting on fence posts like yourself, and I reiterate - I do mind that Harper won't be on the big league roster. I just do. I can't help it. Plus I hate Pants and I'm tired of being bent about the starting rotation, I need something else. I suppose I could play my sitar and focus on 2012 like you and the Mayans. Be patient. Whatever that means. Start winning right now. Why wait. That's why Pants has gotta go, because if they lose 95-100 like I think they will WHO IS GONNA SIGN HERE NEXT YEAR ANYWAY? And half the team's on a one-year contract. Sheer brilliance from our fearless leader. But I'm sure you're ok with that.

Posted by: Brue | February 24, 2011 6:06 PM | Report abuse

The Morbid Fascination Continues.

NJ: Because It Takes All Kinds.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 24, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Dude, I'm not a fan of this team (save for the fact that I enjoy watching/tracking them). Hence my sanguinity.

I'm measuring both arguments because it's interesting, and in general I come down on your side - as someone who wants to see what this kid can do and doesn't think this team has much to lose.

But a fan of this team might think more about the long-term. (It's clear you aren't such a fan or think the long- vs short-term trade-off is overblown.) That's what the arguments about not starting him boil down to.

You seem borderline autistic: you can't track a person's whole comment/thought and just make an argument - a good one, when you settle down - without getting all heated and personal.

I recognize that you're passionate, but the "hate" of an individual you don't know, calling that person a dumb name overandoverandover like you're 8 yrs old, getting "bent" over stuff you don't control and taking it out on commenters who just happen to have a different opinion from you, and the apparent delusion that you have any impact on this stuff whatsoever: it's sad, man.

Oh, and then daring some internet commenter to meet you for a confrontation? Wow.

I know the internet has given you the ability to yell and present your arguments as forcefully as you wish - a voice, really - without having to moderate at all. But it's your tone that just bums everyone out. I dunno, maybe you're just a kid and I'm making these points to a kid . . . AND even if not, it's the internet: you can do and say just about whatever you want - that's your right.

But to quote the greatest actor of our time:
"You're talking to my guy all wrong, it's the wrong tone." I suspect - no matter your age - that this isn't the first time you've ever heard something like that.

And that's not a threat. That's just a fact.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | February 24, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

>Posted by: stevie_in_gp

Time and place.

Posted by: Brue | February 25, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Heh, there you go again.

You must be really sick in real life, dude. Like, St. Elizabeth's sick.

Has anyone ever taken you up on the offer, Brue? Can you get out of the ward any time to go any place?

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | February 25, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

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