It’s the news you’ve been
whining waiting to see: Bryce Harper will be recalled from Syracuse and make his major-league debut tomorrow in Dodger Stadium.
The move will come in conjunction with Ryan Zimmerman’s placement on the 15-Day DL for an inflammation of the AC joint. The move will be retroactive to April 21.
“We thought that we needed to bring in an impactful[sic] left-handed bat,” Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo told reporters at a press conference this afternoon. Rizzo also noted that Harper will initially play left field, and admitted the move was out of need due to injuries to Zimmerman and Michael Morse.
“This wasn’t the coming-out party for Bryce we had in mind,” Rizzo said.
With the retroactive placement on the DL, Ryan Zimmerman could be activated on May 6th, which could also mean that Harper will return to AAA. In the meantime, Rizzo said that Harper will likely be the everyday left fielder, the position he played yesterday in the first game of the doubleheader.
While previously Rizzo had remarked that once Harper was recalled he would stay, this afternoon he backpedaled from that assertion, citing OF Mike Trout*, who was recalled from AA to the Los Angeles Angels for 40 games last summer.
“(There’s) a possibility that this might not be his breakout moment. This could be a step sideways to take a leap forward,” Rizzo said.
Perhaps coincidentally, Stephen Strasburg will be the starting pitcher tomorrow in Los Angeles. Perhaps not coincidentally, Harper’s 20+ days of AAA service ensures that the 19-year-old phenom will not become a free agent until after the 2018 season.
Harper made his MLB debut on April 28, 2012 in a 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Dodgers. He went 1-for-3 with a double and a sacrifice fly and would not return to the minors (except for rehab, natch). All things considered, Harper delivered on the enormous hype as he set for an Age-19 season records for extra-base hits, total bases, and, um, strikeouts that have not been surpassed. Harper was the 2012 N.L. Rookie of the Year and the 2015 N.L. MVP. and left the Nationals with franchise Top-10 figures in WAR, OBP, SLG%, OPS, and WPA.
* Anyone who still wants to make Trout-Harper comparisons should have his crayons taken away, or perhaps be put on the Voyager satellite (either one will do) because that’s how long gone that debate is.