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Bryce Harper is batting third for the Nationals tonight

May 3, 2012, 3:19 PM EDT

Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Dodgers Getty Images

Bryce Harper batted seventh in the Nationals’ lineup for each of his first four games, but manager Davey Johnson has decided to promote the 19-year-old to the No. 3 spot tonight.

That’s where the best hitter on the team generally bats and obviously in time the Nationals expect Harper to be that guy, but to be there already in his fifth game is surprising. And rare, too.

The last 19-year-old to bat third in a big-league game? B.J. Upton, who did so once in 2004. And before that it was Andruw Jones in 1996 and Ken Griffey Jr. in 1989.

Something tells me he might not be going back to Triple-A when Ryan Zimmerman returns.

  1. ajcardsfan - May 3, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    I’m not a Nat’s guy, but I always like to see upcomers do good when the pressures on. Here’s to ya Harper!

  2. mybrunoblog - May 3, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Wow. Pretty bold move by Davey Johnson. Looks like baptism by fire for the young Mr. Harper.

    • marshmallowsnake - May 3, 2012 at 3:54 PM

      Well, he had a great game last night…besides thinking that 430 ft homer from Upton was a fly out. He did rip two doubles that just missed being homers. All three of his doubles have been ropes.

      • akismet-e6748cca3a16ea6e8283008d25583adc - May 3, 2012 at 4:03 PM

        Everybody loses a ball in the lights or the twighlight every once in a while. No judgement here.

      • natstowngreg - May 3, 2012 at 5:15 PM

        He also got picked off first and fell down fielding a fly ball (catching it barehanded). Nats brass have said that Harper needed seasoning in the minors, specifically on fielding and baserunning. So there will be further adventures in those areas, as he learns the hard way.

        At the same time, he’s hit several balls very hard. He has shown hustle, plate patience and a willingness to hit the ball the other way, Finally, having been at Nats Park last night, I can tell you that be brings a certain electricity to this team.

        The doubles he hit were a function of Nats Park’s architecture, for the most part. The high wall with the out-of-town scoreboard in RCF suppresses LH power a bit. Ryan Zimmerman, who hits a lot of balls hard the other way, has also lost homers there.

        BTW, when Zimmerman returns, the most likely option is Tyler Moore, who came up when DeRosa was put on the DL.

      • marshmallowsnake - May 3, 2012 at 6:13 PM

        What inning was that barehanded catch in? I would like to look at that.

      • natstowngreg - May 3, 2012 at 6:37 PM

        6th, Jason Kubel batting. The Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog has a description, with photos.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/post/bryce-harper-catches-a-fly-ball-with-his-bare-hand/2012/05/03/gIQAxazWzT_blog.html

      • marshmallowsnake - May 3, 2012 at 7:46 PM

        Thanks! I am going to look that up on MLB.TV on my PS3 :)

      • marshmallowsnake - May 3, 2012 at 7:47 PM

        That was no Kevin Mitchell, but it looks cool in the pics.

      • natstowngreg - May 3, 2012 at 8:56 PM

        Indeed, Harper muffed the ball then caught it barehanded. As I recall, Mitchell made a running, barehanded catch. A truly amazing play.

  3. mike0987 - May 3, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    wish the yanks would try this approach

    • paperlions - May 3, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      You want the Yankees to bat Harper 3rd in their lineup?

  4. mybrunoblog - May 3, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Forgot to mention. Someone please tell this kid to go back to the high socks look he wore during his debut game. It looks so much better than the pajama pants look he wore last night.

  5. WhenMattStairsIsKing - May 3, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    I guess the Bryce is Right.

  6. darthicarus - May 3, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    I don’t know if Harper could ever live up to the hype that has followed him (same with Strasburg) but for the kid’s sake, the Nationals as an organization, and their fans I hope he does well and can quiet all those who hate him for being a kid with an amazing skill set in a sport we all enjoy.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - May 3, 2012 at 4:29 PM

      Strasburg sure lived up to the hype in April! We’ll see what happens with these kids. These are exciting times for the Nats.

  7. mungman69 - May 3, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Harper will stay when Zimmerman returns? What does one have to do with the other? One plays left field and the other plays 3rd base.

    • marshmallowsnake - May 3, 2012 at 3:55 PM

      Roster spot I guess…someone has to move.

    • akismet-e6748cca3a16ea6e8283008d25583adc - May 3, 2012 at 4:02 PM

      Roster spot yes. Original thought was that perhaps Harper would go straight back to AAA, but after the start he’s had you can’t send him back down. Moore may be the logical person to go right back to AAA; i’d rather him get consistent at bats in AAA than 4-5 ABs a week sitting on the MLB bench right now.

      Best to give Nady and Tracy a few more weeks to break out of their slumps before releasing them and going with more kids.

    • The Baseball Idiot - May 3, 2012 at 5:25 PM

      Great reasoning. Why did Harper come up when Zimmerman went on the DL?

      One plays LF, and one plays 3B.

      Please make me understand the point you are trying to make.

      • akismet-e6748cca3a16ea6e8283008d25583adc - May 3, 2012 at 5:37 PM

        It wasn’t a one-for-one replacement; both transactions just happened to occur the same day. The next day another non one-for-one transaction happened when backup infielder DeRosa went on DL and the team called up 1B-OF Tyler Moore.

        The Nats were greatly struggling already in LF but had ample cover at 3B in Lombardozzi (who has played pretty well there), so Harper was called up to play left.

  8. dawglb - May 3, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    I read an article about how he checks up on his favorite teams (as we all do). However, his teams were something like the L.A. Lakers, Dallas Cowboys, and Duke. What is he, twelve???

    • braddavery - May 3, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      His favorite soccer team is probably Real Madrid.

    • addictedzone - May 3, 2012 at 4:28 PM

      He’s hitting .385. He could like the Washington Generals, the New Orleans VooDoo, and the Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichokes and I’m still impressed.

    • fellspointbird - May 3, 2012 at 5:00 PM

      DC is not the best place to be an admitted Cowboys fan..

    • marshmallowsnake - May 3, 2012 at 6:16 PM

      Don’t forget that he is a huge Yankee fan too…although, he cannot display that one too much.

    • clevelandrocks1 - May 4, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      Don’t forget he’s from Vegas….kinda gets a pass on that.

  9. Stiller43 - May 3, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    I hope he does well and can quiet all those who hate him for being a kid with an amazing skill set in a sport we all enjoy.

    —————–

    They domt hate him for being good, they hate him for being a prick about it. That gesture to the pitcher in single A (?) when he hit a homer is an example. Hes got great talent and pple like that. They dont like him being a douche and showey and LOOK AT ME when he’s 19 and accomplished nothing in the majors to date.

    • wendell7 - May 3, 2012 at 4:44 PM

      How did you act when you were 19 ?

    • braddavery - May 3, 2012 at 5:01 PM

      How has he been a “douche” since making the Bigs? When has he been this awful human being you make him out to because of a couple harmless things he did in the Minors since making the Bigs? The kid did a couple cocky things in the Minors, so freaking what. Get over it already. Not every player will be boring and personality-less.

      • marshmallowsnake - May 3, 2012 at 6:17 PM

        He hasn’t…but that haircut needs to go.

    • akismet-e6748cca3a16ea6e8283008d25583adc - May 3, 2012 at 5:34 PM

      If you’re going to denigrate Harper for that action, at least acknowledge what the opposing pitcher did to earn it. Struck Harper out in the first inning and totally showed him up, stared him down, did the whole macho thing.

      Where’s all your righteous indignation for the other guy involved in this situation? Oh yeah, his name isn’t Bryce Harper, so he gets a pass. Meanwhile every single action Harper does is repeated on ESPN, over analyzed, expressed in the most negative fashion possible because that’s what the national narrative says. You try living with such a huge target on your back.

  10. dawglb - May 3, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    At 19, he may be the best young talent in the Major Leagues, but he is the biggest tool in the Bigs, too. He’ll get plunked this week. Just wait.

    • mike5606 - May 3, 2012 at 9:09 PM

      Why would Harper get hit in the Majors from something he did in the Minors…Major League Pitchers aren’t going to target him if he has done nothing to them..

  11. mojosmagic - May 3, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    Classic case of rushing and putting undue pressure on a great young player. He should still be in the minors.

  12. 5thbase - May 4, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Where did all the posts go about how his minor league stats prove he’s not ready for the majors?

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