19-year-old Washington Nationals wunderkind Bryce Harper will make his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut later this evening against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez Ravine.
Harper, who the Nationals selected out of the College of Southern Nevada with the first overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, was called up after third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was forced to go on the 15-day disabled list with an inflamed right shoulder.
“I’m going to put him in left field and let him play,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson, 69, who earned American League Manager of the Year honors in 1997 with the Baltimore Orioles and captured a World Series title with the Mets in 1986. “Harp had a great spring training, he’s a phenomenal talent, and he’s been swinging the bat down there. But we have a need here for a left-handed bat, and he’s the guy that fits the role. As far as I’m concerned, he’s earned the right to get the opportunity.”
Harper, the winner of the 2010 Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur baseball player, will bat seventh for the final two games this weekend at Dodger Stadium.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo wanted to see the “Sin City” native in the bigs as much as New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie enjoys using rubbers in the sack.
“Suffice it to say, this isn’t the coming-out party for Bryce that we had in mind,” said Rizzo, who planned for Harper to take 250-300 at-bats at Class AAA Syracuse. “This isn’t the optimal situation developmentally.”
Despite being a legendary prospect and talent, many onlookers and pundits consider the erstwhile Coyote to be a cocky and malignant clown pocket.
Fortunately for the Nationals and their fans, Harper will prove to be more like James than Marinovich.
Although a teenager, Bryce Harper is an otherworldly force on the diamond and he has already “earned the right to get the opportunity.”