With third baseman Ryan Zimmerman going on the 15-day Disabled List, the Washington Nationals have called up much heralded prospect Bryce Harper, who will be scheduled to make his Major League Baseball debut at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. Oh, and someone by the name of Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to start for the Nationals on that day too.
The move comes just after the twentieth day of the Minor League season which means Harper had a full 20 day assignment at Triple A. If he spends the rest of his career as a Major League Baseball player without being demoted, he won’t reach free agency until after the 2018 season. If he were to have been called up before Tuesday, he would’ve been eligible a year earlier.
Harper hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire at Triple A, so the move is something of a surprise, but it was expected that Harper would see some playing time at the big league level this year, and Zimmerman going down to injury after the year of service time deadline offered as good of an opportunity as any for the promotion.
It’s expected that Harper will play in left field, with Rick Ankiel remaining in center and Jayson Werth patrolling right.
General Manager Mike Rizzo admits that circumstances, mainly the injuries to Zimmerman and first baseman Mike Morse, had a lot to do with the decision to call up Harper.
This wasn’t the coming out party for Bryce we had in mind. We thought that we needed to bring in an impactful left-handed bat.
In case you needed any more motivation to watch Saturday’s game, Vin Scully will be calling it.