Wire Taps: Washington Nationals Beat Chicago, Bryce Harper In Syracuse, Cubs Interested In John Lannan?

April 5, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view of Wrigley Field before the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Washington Nationals on opening day. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

• "Getting up there on Opening Day is always fun, and you always get that feeling in your stomach, that nervous feeling, and the butterflies and whatnot, but after that first pitch is thrown, all that goes out the door." That isn't Stephen Strasburg talking about his first start in Wrigley Field, or Ian Desmond talking about his big game, Ryan Zimmerman talking about how the wind was against him or veteran bench bat Chad Tracy talking about his extra base hit. It was Bryce Harper talking about Opening Day with the Nats' Triple-A affiliate. Harper finished his first game with the Nats' top farm team 2 for 4 with a double on a day Nats' GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier that there's a chance Harper doesn't make it to the majors this year, but, "I wouldn't go to Vegas and bet on it." While the Nationals were in Chicago, their top prospect was in Syracuse, NY where the Chiefs started their season with a loss. Harper's Triple-A debut. The Nats' 2012 Opener. Strasburg's start. Ian Desmond's big day. Here's one last look back before we move on. Opening Day links and lots of them... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!!:

• "'When I was up there [with the Nationals], I tried to work as hard as I could every single day, but I was still trying to ... do way too much.'" - "Bryce Harper’s Syracuse debut: 2 for 4 and a stolen base" - Dave Sheinin, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "Still on the lookout for pitching help in particular, the Cubs, according to a major-league source, inquired again about Washington Nationals left-hander John Lannan..." - "Cubs interested in Nationals lefty John Lannan" - Gordon Wittenmyer, Chicago Sun-Times

• "Stephen Strasburg and Ryan Dempster's brilliance on the mound are overshadowed by late heroics at the plate by Chad Tracy and Ian Desmond." - "Instant analysis: Nats 2, Cubs 1" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Actually, [Ryan] Zimmerman crushed two Ryan Dempster offerings that, under more hospitable circumstances, would have landed in the seats - if not beyond them." - "DALY: A command performance for Stephen Strasburg in opener" - Dan Daly, Washington Times

• "Scheduled to only go five innings, [Stephen] Strasburg ended up working seven frames, allowing just one run on five hits." - "Nationals Pastime: Strasburg breezes through first start in the Windy City" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "'It's my favorite ballpark in baseball, for obvious reasons,' Rizzo said. 'This is a good day for Opening day in Wrigley Field. I'm good. I saw the parkas down there lined up, and I said, 'Come on, a parka?'" - "Chicago is special place for Rizzo, DeRosa" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "From 1983 to 1988, McCarver served as an analyst for the Mets' telecasts on WOR-TV, so he was there for Davey Johnson's first five years in New York." - "McCarver: Johnson 'perfect' manager to guide Nationals" - Jim Williams, Washington Examiner

D.C. GM Mike Rizzo w/ 106.7 The FAN's Holden Kushner And Danny Rouhier:

• "For six weeks in spring training, [Davey] Johnson fielded questions about [Ian] Desmond. His track record didn’t make him an ideal leadoff hitter." - "Ian Desmond delivers in Nationals' 2-1 Opening Day victory over Cubs" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'I just really like our club, I like it a lot, and part of the reason is because of what guys like Tracy bring to it,' Manager Davey Johnson said.'" - "Chad Tracy comes off the bench and delivers for the Nationals on opening day" - Jason Reid, The Washington Post

• "This is how the Nationals were constructed. They know they're going to win on the strength of their deep pitching staff ... and the hope they can scratch together a couple of runs." - "An April win with an October vibe" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "'It hurts because we lose today,' Dempster said. 'We want to win every day we're out there, but especially opening day when you're at home in front of all these great fans.'" - "Cubs start Epstein era with 2-1 loss to Nationals" - Andrew Seligman, AP/WTOP.com

• "General Manager Mike Rizzo was raised down the street from Wrigley Field. His father was a scout, and he lived for baseball. 'It’s probably about my 25th Opening Day in Wrigley Field,' Rizzo said." - "Nationals opening day for the first-timers, long-timers and part-timers" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'It's great,' Tracy said after the game. 'I've been saying the last few days since I made the team that just the opportunity to be here is very special to me.'" - "Nationals Pastime: Nats happy to see Tracy deliver, for more reasons than one" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "This, however, wasn't like any of those previous save opportunities. This was Lidge's first time pitching in a Nationals uniform..." - "Just like old times for Lidge" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "Now, looking to avoid their first 0-2 start since '08, the Cubs will turn to Matt Garza to counter Nationals newcomer Gio Gonzalez on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field." - "Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs - April 7, 2012 " - Paul Casella, MLB.com Preview

• "These Nationals may be leaving behind their dismal past, but for one day they maintained their uncanny knack for making things hard on themselves." - "Nationals vs. Cubs: Stephen Strasburg shines in season opening win" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "After seven innings on Thursday, LaRoche and Werth were a combined 0-for-6, a combined 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and had each left five runners on base..." - "Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche and two pivotal walks" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said that he is not in a rush to trade left-hander John Lannan, who asked to be dealt after being demoted to Triple A Syracuse on Tuesday." - "Rizzo: Not looking to trade lefty Lannan" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Ian Desmond had a monster game today, recording three of the Nats' four hits, scoring a run, stealing a base and driving in the game-winning tally in the ninth inning with a two-out base hit to right." - "Nationals Pastime: Notes and quotes on Desmond, Werth and Zimmerman" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Ian Desmond is going to hit the leadoff the way he wants to, and he proved it on the very first pitch of the Nationals’ season." - "Ian Desmond leads the Nationals’ offense in opening day victory" - Adam Kilgore, Nationals Journal - The Washington Post

• "'I just wanted to stay aggressive,' Desmond said. 'I know Marmol likes the slider. I wanted it to stay up in the zone. I tried to stay on it as best as I could.'" - "Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs - April 5, 2012" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "I am often asked whether I am optimistic for the future of humanity. My simple answer is yes."

• NATS MINOR LEAGUE:

Triple-A Syracuse: Bryce Harper and Tony Beasley April 5, 2012 - First Syracuse Chiefs Press Conference - YouTube h/t to Ben Meyers (@CitizenMeyers) for the link.

Triple-A Syracuse: "Nationals top prospect Bryce Harper had a nice debut for the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs in a 7-4 loss to Rochester in the 2012 opener on... " - "Harper makes nice Triple-A debut; Morse and Ankiel in Bowie" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

Triple-A Syracuse: "In his Chiefs debut, top prospect Bryce Harper picked up the first Chiefs hit of the year, with a double down the right field line to lead off the bottom of the second inning." - "Chiefs fall 7-4 on Opening Day" - Syracuse Chiefs News

Triple-A Syracuse: "[Bryce] Harper busted through the door in his first at-bat, hitting a double to right off Rochester starter P.J. Walters." - "Harper battles nerves in Triple-A debut" - Danny Wild, MiLB.com News

Double-A Harrisburg: Senators 2, Bowie 4 - Jeff Kobernus - 2 for 4, 2 SB; Robert Gilliam - 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3BB, 4 K's - BOX SCORE

Class-A Hagersotwn: "The Hagerstown Suns, Single-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, used late inning heroics, including a center fielder Brian Goodwin's two-run tying home run to begin a late innings rally for an 11-9 win over the West Virginia Power..." - "Goodwin, Suns Rally Past Power in Opener" - Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Hagerstown: SUNS vs POWER: BOX SCORE.

• "Bryce Harper did not disappoint in his AAA debut, singling, doubling, and stealing a base while playing error-free CF." - "Friday’s News & Notes" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "After Ian Desmond led off the game with a hit on the very first pitch of the baseball season for the Nationals, we all got a glimpse of the type of baseball the Nats will have to play all season..." - "Nationals Baseball Is Back: Get Your Heart Medication Ready" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "Nats fans have quite a wait for their home Opening Day, but in the meantime, here are a few new menu items from Nats Park." - "Nats Park new menu items include Meatball Mania" - Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

• "For Nationals fans, baseball season revolves around the sight and sounds of broadcaster Johnny Holliday." - "Nationals Buzz: Nationals commentator Holliday honored by alma mater" - Brian Eller, MASNSports.com

• "Pretty nice AAA debut for Bryce Harper on Thursday:2-4 with a 2B and stolen base." - "Video: Bryce Harper doubles in first at-bat with Syracuse Chiefs" - Nats Enquirer

• "In Philadelphia at Citizens Park the Washington Nationals beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-3; the Nats victory was the first by a Washington major league baseball team in thirty three and a half years. The Nationals Brad Wilkerson went 4 for 4 and hit for the cycle." - "This Day in D.C. Baseball History – Wilkerson hits for the Cycle" - Mark Hornbaker, D.C. Baseball History

• "Ian Desmond was the hero in this one for the Nats, going 3-for-5, scoring the first Nats run and driving in the winner." - "Washington Nationals Game 1 Review: Desmond key to offense in 2-1 win over Cubs" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "Desmond isn't necessarily a great lead off hitter. LaRoche isn't necessarily a terrible clean-up hitter." - "Just one game" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets/Braves: "Among all the match-ups on Opening Day — no, not that Opening Day, or that one, you know, the other one — one of the more intriguing for fantasy purposes might have been Atlanta opening their season in New York against the Mets..." - "Johan Santana & Tommy Hanson On the Comeback Trail" - Mike Petriello, FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball

Mets: "Andres Torres’ debut with the Mets didn’t go so well. The ex-Giants center fielder walked and scored New York’s only run of the game, but was picked off at first and also re-aggravated his left calf strain while trying to snag a shot in the seventh." - "Mets morning briefing 4.6.12" - Mike Mazzeo, Mets Blog - ESPN New York

Phillies: "If only Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies had gotten this 1-0 win last October." - "Roundup: Halladay nearly flawless as Phillies beat Pirates" - Will Graves, The Globe and Mail

Marlins: "Jeffrey Loria Had A Marlins Park Cake With Swarovski Crystals And A Working Retractable Roof" - Barry Petchesky, Deadspin

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