Page last updated on Thu Sep 29 04:32:34 EDT 2016
Tue, 01 May 2012 03:35 AM EDT

Bryce Harper has a tendency to do things ahead of plan, so it should surprise nobody he’s already heading to the major leagues.

The 19-year-old outfielder, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 non-professional draft, will be recalled by the Washington Nationals from Triple-A Syracuse. Basketball odds

Widely considered to be baseball’s top aspiration, Harper met the Nationals in L.A, where they played the Dodgers, and took the roster place of 3rd baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who’s going on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder.

Harper skipped his last year of high school, earned his GED, and then played a season of junior college baseball at the College of Southern Nevada to become eligible for the draft to get a headstart on his professional career. He confirmed a 5-year, $9.9 million deal, including $6.5 million in signing bonuses, with the Nationals in Aug. 2010. Football betting lines

Rizzo repeatedly has claimed he believes all young players must spend some time at every level of the minors before moving to the major leagues. So that while Nationals manager Davey Johnson wanted Rizzo to think about letting Harper skip Triple-A, the team sent him to Syracuse after he hit .286 in spring training this year.

But with their top 2 hitters — Zimmerman and left fielder Michael Morse, who’s been out all season with a difficult back muscle — sidelined by injuries, the team made a decision to bring up Harper now.

“We still have an excellent and committed development strategy for Bryce ready. I continue to believe very passionately in the plan, and am committed to it. Though it was expedited by the circumstances,” Rizzo said. “We felt that we wished to bring in an impactful, left-handed bat that could play the corner outfield.”

Rizzo headed to Rochester, New York, last week to look at Harper play in 3 games for Syracuse — and liked what he saw, including how Harper fared in the field.

Harper basically played catcher in school, but the Nationals instantly shifted him to right field when they drafted him. They also wanted him to play some center field at Syracuse, because that’s an area where Washington needs help.

“He’s swinging the bat extremely well now and looked comfortable in left field,” Rizzo expounded.

The GM wouldn’t weigh in on whether Harper necessarily will stay up in the majors, even after Zimmerman returns, or is definitely going to return to the minors.

“This is a very confident person, and we predict him to perform well in the major leagues,” Rizzo recounted. “He’s the kind of guy who will handle anything that’s thrown at him and will definitely be the better for it.”

The Nationals were a NL-leading 14-5 heading into their game at the Dodgers. That’s thanks principally to exceptional starting pitching; the offense has been inconsistent.

Cleanup hitter Morse isn’t anticipated back for weeks. The No. 3 hitter, Zimmerman, could comeback as quickly as May 6, Rizzo said, because his stint on the DL is backdated.

“We don’t think it’s a debilitating injury,” Rizzo declared, “but it takes time to improve.”

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