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Posted at 7:33 PM ET, 02/23/2011

Bryce Harper's second day, Chien-Ming Wang's progress, Jim Riggleman's meeting

By Adam Kilgore


I'm wrapping up a pretty busy here at Panera, otherwise known as the Svrluga Bureau. Before I call it a night, here are a few tidbits that haven't made it out of my notebook:

>>>Bryce Harper didn't disappear after his first full-squad workout. During one outfield drill today, he made a nice, sliding catch on a shallow pop to center. During live batting practice, Harper first faced off against Cole Kimball.

Kimball wheeled away the L-screen every other pitcher used for protection, which fits with Kimball's grip-it-and-rip-it persona. Kimball and Harper played together in the Arizona Fall League, and their faceoff was power on power. Harper smoked a laser over the fence in right, a home run that never got more than about 30 feet off the ground. Later on, Harper crushed a one-hopper off the fence against Adam Carr, another teammate from the Arizona Fall League.

>>>Chien-Ming Wang threw live batting practice, a not-insignificant development. It's hard to get too excited when there's an L-screen and a batting cage involved, but this was technically the first time Wang had pitched to major league hitters since July 4, 2009.

Wang looked relatively strong. His velocity seemed about right, and his pitches had some decent movement. He was also wild, and when he did throw one over the plate, Ian Desmond rocked a line drive off the left-field fence. Wang has a ways to go yet, but we knew that. It was an important step, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him in a spring training game at some point.

>>>Early this morning, as the other Nationals began warming up, Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond ducked into Manager Jim Riggleman's office. Riggleman had already met with Jason Marquis and Alex Cora, and he plans to meet with several other Nationals veterans.

Riggleman wants to let his experienced players establish ground rules for the clubhouse - "their clubhouse," as Riggleman said. He gave them a list of issues and encouraged them to create their own guidelines. Riggleman wants order, but he's willing to let the players he trusts most establish it.

"I want them to police each other and come up with some standards they will be comfortable with in their clubhouse -- things that pertain to music, card playing, family and friends in the clubhouse," Riggleman said. "They will come up with those rules. I'll look it over with the coaching staff and Mike Rizzo, and see how comfortable we are with those standards. We'll come up with a finite set of rules."

It is telling that Riggleman included Desmond with Zimmerman and Werth, a second-year player mixed in with the face of the franchise and the team's highest-paid player. You get the feeling that if Riggleman had to start his own team and could only take one player from the Nationals with him, he might go with Desmond.

The Nationals added more veteran players this offseason, and I talked to Ryan Zimmerman for a bit about the changes that could lead to. I'll work on posting that up here for the morning.

By Adam Kilgore  | February 23, 2011; 7:33 PM ET
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Next: Ryan Zimmerman explains why more veterans will matter


Harper clearly would hit and field better than Stairs yet he is off
to Hagerstown? Hairston and perhaps Cora might make sense?
But Stairs on the roster makes none and leads only to Giggleman's

Posted by: periculum | February 23, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Adam, are you really saying that Alex Cora, on a minor league contract and with the team for 5 days, is being considered a veteran leader by Jim Riggleman?

Posted by: Sunderland | February 23, 2011 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman would take Desmond over Zim? Don't think so. If so then I may start believing some of the negative things I'm reading about Riggs. Till then naaaa.

Heres hoping Poop can't make bail in the Las Vegas pokie.

Posted by: brianbu | February 23, 2011 8:14 PM | Report abuse

So has Cora already made the team then? Should Jerry Hairston Jr and the Attorney General start packing their bags? Or are these meetings establishing ground rules for the Syracuse and Harrisburg clubhouses too?

Posted by: nunof1 | February 23, 2011 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Cora doesn't have to make the team to offer a qualified opinion on what works best in a clubhouse. He's been in plenty of clubhouses over the years. Marquis probably fits that mold too. As for Desmond, he may be a natural born leader even if he is not the most talented. Hyperbole aside, I doubt Riggleman would take Ian over Ryan, but I don't doubt that he prizes a positive force in the clubhouse, in the dugout, and on the field.

Posted by: whatsaNATaU | February 23, 2011 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I remember last year when the whole Morgan thang blew up. Riggleman's response was I'll let the clubhouse decide how to handle it. Does this guy make any decisions? Is he in charge of anything? The buck stops here definitely wasn't written for/about DoubleSwitch.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 23, 2011 10:47 PM | Report abuse

It's been said that some in the organization regard Desmond as a team leader.He was drafted by the Expos in 2004,so he goes back.

Posted by: seanmg | February 24, 2011 12:14 AM | Report abuse

>>Harper smoked a laser over the fence in right, a home run that never got more than about 30 feet off the ground. Later on, Harper crushed a one-hopper off the fence against Adam Carr, another teammate from the Arizona Fall League.

Yeah, Harper might get damaged by making the big club out of spring training. Right. Only thing that'll get damaged is the ball. He'll make Werth look like a punk by the end of March. Hey Boz why don't you quit writing crap and talk about what's really wrong with this team -

Posted by: Brue | February 24, 2011 7:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm positive on the direction of this club, with the exception of the manager. Let me put the ridiculous use of the double-switch to the side until April, and just ask, does anybody inspire less confidence than this guy? He seems like a nice guy, and I'm sure he knows the game, but he's not a leader...and definitely not a winner.

I do hope that he's just holding this seat for one more season at most. The outlook for this team in 2012 and beyond should be attractive to some quality candidates.

As for Harper, let's get real. What team is gonna start this kid's clock at 18? It would be foolish to bring him up anytime before June of 2012. You want him to be a free agent before he turns 24? Glad you're not running this team.

Posted by: sollazo | February 24, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

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