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.