Monday, February 27, 2012

Harper, Rendon likely to start this weekend

US Presswire photo
Bryce Harper should get considerable playing time this spring.
VIERA, Fla. -- It doesn't look like the Nationals will have to wait too long to see their two most recent top draft picks in the starting lineup.

Manager Davey Johnson suggested today that 2011 first-round pick Anthony Rendon will start at third base Friday in the club's exhibition opener against Georgetown University and 2010 No. 1 overall pick Bryce Harper will start in right field Saturday in the Grapefruit League opener at the Astros.

Johnson has been saying all week he's particularly interested in seeing what kind of production he can get from his left-handed bats, hoping to balance out a lineup heavy with right-handed sluggers (Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse, Jayson Werth). With right-hander (and ex-National) Livan Hernandez slated to be on the mound for Houston Saturday in Kissimmee, Johnson will try to stack his lineup with as many left-handed hitters as possible, opening the door for Harper.

Johnson is planning to give Harper plenty of playing time this spring, certainly more than the outfielder got last spring in his first professional camp. Then 18, Harper appeared in 12 games, all of them off the bench, going 7-for-18 with three doubles and five RBI.

Now 19 and competing for a spot on the Opening Day roster, Harper is expected to make regular starts this spring, probably alternating in right field with Werth.

Rendon, the sixth overall pick in last summer's draft, won't see nearly as much playing time in his first pro camp, but he will get a chance to start Friday's charity game against Georgetown. The 21-year-old infielder has been getting some work at shortstop and second base in the last week, but he'll play his natural third base position for this game.

Johnson spent time watching Rendon take batting practice today and came away impressed.

"I never had seen him swing," the manager said. "I like his actions a lot, his approach."

Standing nearby, special assistant Bob Boone said Rendon's swing reminded him of Johnson's swing.

"I thought it was much more of a compliment to me than it was to him," Johnson said. "He's special."

Rendon won't be the only 2011 draft pick in the lineup Friday; left-hander Matt Purke (selected in the third round) will start against Georgetown.

17 comments:

Cease the Opportunity said...

Oh boy!

Unkyd said...

I feel like I've died and gone to Iowa.... If any if y'all pinches me, I'm gonna be plenty steamed! ;-)

SCNatsFan said...

Poor Matt Skole... drafted by the Nats and have Zim and Rendon infront of you.

Scooter said...

I have begun quivering and will not cease doing so till I arrive in Viera 48 hours hence.

Please excuse the resultant typograhicsail errossl.

Scooter said...

(By the way, I didn't do that on purpose. But I did decide to leave it.)

NatsJack in Florida said...

I'll be at Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays games this week end. Can't wait!

SonnyG10 said...

I'm green with envy, Scooter. Wish I was going to see them in ST. Enjoy your trip!

NatsLady said...

I would lose my job if I drank, or even smelled of drink-- whether on a break or not. So I don't have much sympathy if the Red Sox players are complaining. They are getting paid big money to sit around, so, fellas, sit around and support your teammates.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/dailypitch/post/2012/02/bobby-valentine-terry-francona-beer-ban/1#.T0vuIIcgdDs

natsfan1a said...

Have fun, Scooter!

Scooter said...

Eh, different expectations, NatsLady. I worked in the performing arts too, and we had plenty of production meetings where everyone had a beer in hand.

But yeah, nobody should be complaining about a beer ban. There's no basic right to drink at work.

JaneB said...

Scooter! I am so excited for you! NatsJack too! Please write early and often about what you observe.

The NON-BUSINESS part of me is glad I am not going to see Livan in a different uniform. I know we don't have room for him, but it would still make me cry. Not in a good way.

NatsNuts said...

I just checked AirTran, US Air and Delta from Washington to Orlando for Friday to Monday. Looks like $920 round trip. I really want to go! Add hotel and rental car and thinking $1,400.

sec3mymotorsickle said...

That sickle train is looking more and more appealing.

natsfan1a said...

NatsNuts, did you check on sites like Travelocity, Kayak, or Expedia? I would think they could do better than those fares.

natsfan1a said...

In fact, I seem to recall I got a fare-watcher email touting a RT fare of $183 over the weekend, but I deleted it and don't remember which airline (sorry).

natsfan1a said...

Just looked at Travelocity, Kayak, and TripAdvisor for Friday to Monday and was getting under $400 RT from WAS to Orlando. TripAdvisor was showing one for under $300 if your dates were flexible. (Dang, I wish I was going.)

natsfan1a said...

Aha, found it, as I'd not emptied my email trash. It was an AirTran deal via TripAdvisor ($184 RT), but with travel from March 13-20. Even so, their fares for this coming weekend are considerably cheaper than what NatsNuts was quoted. Also, if you have AAA or a similar travel service, as an agent to find you a better fare. Okay, taking off my travel planning hat and putting on my Nats cap now.

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