VIERA, Fla. -- Bryce Harper won't have to wait long to make his spring training debut. The 18-year-old phenom is scheduled to appear in the Nationals' Grapefruit League opener on Monday against the Mets.
Manager Jim Riggleman said Harper will be on the Nationals' travel squad for the 1:10 p.m. game in Port St. Lucie. The young outfielder, who is in big-league camp despite having yet to play in a regular-season, minor-league game, won't start but is slated to come off the bench and get at least one at-bat.
Harper's spring training playing time is expected to be minimal. He's unlikely to start any games, and he'll probably be among the first round of cuts approximately seven-to-10 days after the exhibition schedule begins.
"I'm hoping that he kind of blends in," Riggleman said. "I'm not looking for him to excel against major-league pitching."
Veteran right-hander Chad Gaudin, attempting to make the roster as either the fifth starter or as a long reliever, will pitch the first two or three innings against the Mets. Other pitchers scheduled to appear in the game include Craig Stammen, Brian Broderick, Todd Coffey and Doug Slaten.
Several big-name position players aren't scheduled to make the trip, including Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche. They're all likely to make their Grapefruit League debuts Tuesday when the Mets come to Viera.
In other news this morning...
-- Henry Rodriguez and Elvin Ramirez have each received their visas and are scheduled to arrive in Viera today. The Nationals will attempt to work the two right-handers into the mix quickly so they can start evaluating each reliever.
-- The Nats announced the signings of 16 international free agents, headlined by 17-year-old Dominican catcher Raudy Read and 17-year-old Dominican outfielder Randy Novas. The other players agreeing to terms are: left-handers Joeal Barrientos, Brian Escolastico and Hector Silvestre; right-handers Anderson Martinez, Gilberto Mendez and Felix Moscat; catchers Pedro Severino and Jorge Tillero; first baseman Arialdi Peguero; shortstop Yewri Guillen; third baseman Diomedes Eusebio; and outfielders Juan de los Santos, Wilman Rodriguez and Dioncio Rosario. All are teenagers from either the Dominican Republic or Venezuela.