In case you missed it late last week in all the end of Spring posts about the Nationals' 25-Man Roster being selected, which were quickly followed by the Nats/Sox exhibition articles and all the Opening Day hype, MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling posted a quick examination last Friday of what options Washington's Front Office was exploring in their attempts to acquire an everyday right fielder to take the place of Elijah Dukes, the 25-year-old outfielder who was released earlier this Spring. I caught and transcribed an interview Nats' team President Stan Kasten conducted with 980 ESPN Radio's The Sports Reporters last week, in which Mr. Kasten explained the void Dukes' departure had created:
"...through Spring Training, through the weeks leading up to it, and during the first couple [of games], we just didn't see enough to make us believe [Dukes] was ever going to get to what we had hoped for...Now, if we had believed he was going to be a problem all winter, we would've made a point to go out and get a right fielder..."
While the Nationals have settled on a right field platoon featuring Willie Harris and Willy Taveras, MASNSports.com's Mr. Goessling wrote last Friday, in an article entitled, "As Nats enter the season, status quo in right field", that they might be in the market for a corner outfielder a year after they had an overabundance:
"A club source said the Nationals have discussed a trade for right fielder Corey Hart with the Brewers, and talked to the Cubs about outfielder Kosuke Fukudome. They have even inquired about Rays outfielder B.J. Upton, though they came away feeling Tampa Bay wouldn't part with the 24-year-old speedster unless it was out of the AL East race this summer."
Are any of those three outfielders the answer in right? Can a platoon of Taveras, Harris, Mike Morse or even Cristian Guzman produce enough out in right field for the Nationals to get by?
• Bryce Harper Update: After The JUMP...
• Bryce Harper Update:
The College of Southern Nevada had a 15-game win streak broken on Saturday in the second-half of a doubleheader with Salt Lake Community College. CSN Coyotes' catcher Bryce Harper, thought by many to be the only real option for the Nationals' 2010 no. 1 draft pick, continued to make his own case for being the first overall selection, going 1 for 3 with a run scored a stolen base in the 3-2 loss in game two after he was 1 for 3 with a run scored, 1 RBI and a stolen base while behind the plate catching his brother Bryan Harper, who improved (8-1) on the year with 6.0 IP in which he gave up 4 hits and 1 ER while striking out 10 without allowing a walk in the Coyotes 4-1 game one win.
Bryce Harper after this weekend: 49 for 115 (.426 AVG), 13 2B, 1 3B, 12 HR's, 37 RBI's, 24 BB, 24 K's, .521 OBP, .870 SLG, 13 A, 2 ER, .989 fld%.
• One More Note On The Season Opener...Stinking Philly Phans...
Nats Insider's Mark Zuckerman takes a look at how so many Philly Phans ended up at Opening Day in DC in an article entitled, "How Philly fans overtook D.C."