Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Option Bryce Harper To Triple-A, Baseball World Reacts.

March 6, 2012; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) before the game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

• In case you somehow missed the announcement yesterday after the Washington Nationals loss to the Grapefruit League's dominant Detroit Tigers, the Nats optioned 19-year-old outfielder Bryce Harper to Triple-A Syracuse. (ed. note - "The Nationals also, with much less fanfare, sent C Jhonatan Solano and IF/OF Tyler Moore to Triple-A and re-assigned veteran IF Mark Teahen to minor-league camp, but there aren't too many articles about those moves today.") Harper, the 2010 no.1 overall pick ends his second Spring Training with a .286/.333/.357 slash, two doubles, two walks and 11 K's in 9 games and 28 at bats. According to reports yesterday, Harper will see a lot of time in center in Syracuse to prepare him to fill that role when he returns to the nation's capital in... well, that's what everyone gets to argue about now. First it was, "Will Harper sign with the Nationals?" after he was drafted, then it was, "Where will Harper start in the Nats' system?" and after that, "When will the Nats promote Harper to the next level?" and then, "Will Harper make the Opening Day roster?" and now, "When will he be promoted from Triple-A to the majors?" Let the speculation begin. Do they wait 21 days? Mid-June? What if Harper struggles at Triple-A? How about, "Who plays center on Opening Day in Wrigley?" LINKS and lots of 'em, RIGHT NOW!!

• THE BIG STORY:

• "And something else became apparent this spring: [Bryce] Harper isn’t ready. Or at the very least, it was no slam-dunk that he is ready." - "The Bryce Harper narrative" - Dave Sheinin, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "Another Nats official noted that while [Bryce] Harper looked spectacular some days, he looked lost other days." - "Sending Harper to minors was right move for Nats" - Jon Heyman, CBSSports.com

• NATS BEAT:

• "After a relatively drama-free camp for the oft-controversial teen, [Bryce] Harper won’t be heading north with the Nationals when they break camp." - "Nationals option Bryce Harper to Triple-A Syracuse" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Truth be told, most of Harper's greatest moments of the spring came during batting practice as he wowed onlookers with titanic blasts over every corner of the outfield wall." - "Not ready yet ... but how far away?" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Talking with reporters shortly after being informed that he was being sent over to minor league camp, [Bryce] Harper was clearly disappointed with the news..." - "Harper on his demotion: 'I wasn't expecting it, but it's OK'" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'(Rick) Ankiel is back and I like what I saw when he was healthy. He's made some improvements. I like (Brett) Carroll and Bernie (Roger Bernadina), they're looking better.'" - Davey Johnson - "Harper is optioned to Triple-A" - Craig Heist, WTOP.com

• "If [Bryce] Harper had started the season in the Major Leagues, there's a really good chance he would have needed two or three months to figure things out." - "Minor League time for Nationals phenom Bryce Harper will be temporary" - Richard Justice, nationals.com: News

• "After all, a center field rotation of Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina and Brett Carroll isn't likely to keep opposing teams' pitchers up at night." - "Like it or not, Nats handling Harper the right way" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Bryce] Harper will play mostly center field at Syracuse, with some right mixed in, and the Nationals see him as a center fielder when he reaches the majors this season." - "Nationals option Bryce Harper to AAA Syracuse (updated)" - Dave Sheinin, Adam Kilgore - Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'My swing wasn't where it was supposed to be. I think my hands were a little out of whack and my body was a little out of whack from the (Arizona Fall League).'" - Bryce Harper - "Bryce Harper talks about getting sent to the minor leagues" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "It shouldn't come as a surprise that outfielder Bryce Harper was sent to Triple-A Syracuse to begin the 2012 campaign... " - "Bryce Harper is right on schedule for D.C." - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "[Bryce] Harper is not used to getting cut. He was a star from the moment he hit the field for his high school team in his native Las Vegas and dominated when he graduated one year early and enrolled in junior college at age 17." - "Nationals option Harper to Syracuse" - Brian McNally, Washington Examiner

• "Manager Davey Johnson said the 'timing wasn't right' to let Harper start the season in the Major Leagues. 'He is close,' the skipper said." - "Nationals option top prospect Bryce Harper to Triple-A Syracuse" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Most scouting reports believe he possesses the natural athleticism to survive in center — though a corner outfield position will still be his eventual home — and his bat profiles as plus-plus in center, as well." - "Bryce Harper Optioned To Triple-A" - J.P. Breen, FanGraphs Baseball

• "Bryce Harper’s strained calf may have helped avoid a late-spring collision between Nationals GM Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson, who wanted Harper on his Opening Day roster." - "Your Morning Phil: Spring records, Ozzie, Harper" - Phil Rogers, chicagotribune.com

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "Wealth may contribute to our happiness, but it's not the most important factor; by itself wealth fails to bring us deep inner satisfaction."

• NON-HARPER NATS BEAT:

• "'Talent can only take you so far,' Werth said. 'That's not a knock on my team right now because I think by the end of the year we'll have talent AND polish.'" - "Nationals oozing with 'talent'" - Jayson Stark, ESPN.com

• "Nats outfielder wants to ‘set the record straight’ on why 2011 wasn’t really that bad." - "Jayson Werth is tired of people saying he had a bad 2011" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "'I really feel this is going to be put behind [me] shortly,' LaRoche said. 'I'm going to give it a few days, go back to the Minor League side, get a bunch of at-bats where I don't have to run the bases.'" - "Morse, LaRoche out of game action for a week" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• " Adam LaRoche’s left foot hurts. A year ago, it was his left shoulder." - "Adam LaRoche aching for good health" - Dan Daly, Washington Times

• "'We really bear down on guys like that in the draft — ‘pedigree guys,’ we call them,' General Manager Mike Rizzo said of Lombardozzi, whom they took in the 19th round of the 2008 draft.'" - "There's a good reason why Steve Lombardozzi looks like a big leaguer" - Dave Sheinin, The Washington Post

• "The Nationals scouted [Xavier] Nady in California last week and came away impressed enough to offer him a minor-league contract, general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters in Viera." - "Nats sign Nady to minor-league deal" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "If the Nationals could save Werth's legs the first few months, 'then it would be easier to make the move there,' Johnson said. 'Or, ideally, have Harper play center.'" - "A few thoughts on Bryce Harper playing center field and what it means for the Nationals" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'I was just really focused on getting ahead in counts, just trying to keep my pitch count down every inning,' he said. 'I think I accomplished that pretty well.'' - Ross Detwiler - "Jackson, Detwiler talk about their outings (Nats lose 11-7)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'He will be on the Minor League side getting his swings in, trying to get into baseball shape, and we'll take it from there,' Rizzo said." - Mike Rizzo on Xavier Nady - "Nationals give Nady chance to make impact" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "At 25 years old, [Jordan] Zimmermann is essentially a three-pitch pitcher. He relies heavily upon the fastball, with a slider as his out-pitch and a decent curveball as well." - "Jordan Zimmerman Will Play Big Part In Nationals’ Nasty Young Rotation" - David Heck, CBS DC

NATSSHARKTOWN:

• "There were several reports of Shark chants while [Roger] Bernadina was batting during yesterday's game." - "Shark Batting Title" - Sharkadina

• NATSTOWN:

• "Nats spring training leaders" - Mark Buterbaugh, DC Pro Sports Report

• "Bryce Harper will start the season in the minors. This made the most sense as explained by everyone everywhere." - "Bryce to the minors? I'm shocked. Shocked!" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Scenes From Spring Training" - NationalsProspects.com

• "Just so we're all on the same page: we're still talking about a lat strain, correct?" - "Is it OK to start panicking about Michael Morse now?" - Nats Enquirer

• "[Bryce] Harper's move to CF is significant, as it could indicate that the Nationals are happier with Jayson Werth in right field than they are with him in center." - "Nationals Try To Make Bryce Harper Their Center Fielder Of The Future" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "Nestled in the Alleghany Mountains of Pennsylvania, is Altoona. Altoona is a railroad town, the famous Horseshoe Curve is nearby but this is also a baseball town." - "Dark Days in Altoona" - Karen and Kevin Flynn, D.C. Baseball History

• "A number of players were optioned to the minors or reassigned to camp on Sunday, but none were more notable than Bryce Harper, who was optioned to Triple-A." - "Bryce Harper Demoted: A Brief Reaction" - Nathaniel Stoltz, Seedlings to Stars

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "According to Rich Sandomir of the New York Times, the Mets and the trustees for the victims of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme have settled at $162 million." - "Mets, Madoff Trustees Settle At $162 Million" - Eric Simon, Amazin' Avenue

Marlins: "Animal activists call fish abuse over Miami Marlins’ backstop fish tanks" - Rick Chandler, Off the Bench

Braves: "Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has spent the past few days fighting to regain the swing that allowed him to consistently drive the ball the other way last year." - "Freeman focused on hitting to opposite field" - Mark Bowman, braves.com: News

Phillies: "Chase Utley has left Phillies camp to see a specialist as his chronically injured right knee is not healthy enough to take the field... " - "Utley leaving camp to see specialist" - Matt Gelb, Philadelphia Inquirer

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