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Nationals phenom Bryce Harper to debut vs. Dodgers on Saturday

April 27, 2012|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Bryce Harper is expected to make his MLB debut for the Washington Nationals against the Dodgers on Saturday.
Bryce Harper is expected to make his MLB debut for the Washington Nationals… (Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images…)

Teenage phenom Bryce Harper is scheduled to make his major-league debut for the Washington Nationals on Saturday at Dodger Stadium.

Harper, a power-hitting, 19-year-old outfielder, has been called up from triple-A Syracuse to replace third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the active roster. Zimmerman was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a shoulder injury.

As a 16-year-old prep star in Las Vegas, Harper appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated alongside the headline, “Baseball’s Chosen One.” After his sophomore year of high school, Harper passed the GED and enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada. He won the Golden Spikes Award as the top amateur baseball player in the country and was selected first overall by the Nationals in the 2010 draft. He signed for $9.9 million.

Harper was hitting .250 with one home run and three runs batted in for triple-A Syracuse.

Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo acknowledged that he had initially planned for Harper to remain in the minor leagues longer.

“This was expedited by circumstance,” Rizzo said. “This isn’t the coming-out party for Bryce that we had in mind.”

Rizzo said Harper will play.

“We didn’t bring Bryce up to sit on the bench,” Rizzo said.

Pitching for the Nationals on the day Harper makes his debut will be the team’s previous phenom, Stephen Strasburg. As the top pick of the 2009 draft, Strasburg signed out of San Diego State for $15.1 million.

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