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Wire Taps: Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper Returns, D.C. GM Mike Rizzo Talks Harper, John Lannan.

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Mar. 13, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (20) hits a single in the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
Mar. 13, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (20) hits a single in the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

ESPN.com's Buster Olney wrote this morning about how the Arizona Diamondbacks' concern with injured shortstop Stephen Drew's recovery from the "devastating" ankle injury he suffered last season has them doing their due diligence and looking at potential long-term solutions including Washington Nationals' infielder Ian Desmond and the Oakland A's Cliff Pennington. The ESPN writer adds that finding a shortstop isn't on the top of the D-Backs' list of issues to address, "But that could change if Arizona decides to aggressively address its shortstop situation for this year and into the future."

• In reporting on the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox' interest in Nats' lefty John Lannan, CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler wrote yesterday in his article entitled, "Red Sox, Tigers seem most focused on Lannan", that Washington is still looking for a center field solution. Though he noted that the D-Backs haven't expressed an interest in dealing their outfielder, and he quoted Arizona's GM saying they haven't had any talks about him, Mr. Knobler wrote that, "The outfielder who is believed to interest [the Nationals] the most this spring seems to be Arizona's Gerardo Parra, and any deal for him is unlikely to include Lannan." Though they could have Werth play center this year when Bryce Harper's up in the majors, the CBSSports.com reporter writes that they continue to search for a long-term solution since, "the plan for next year has Werth in left field with Michael Morse moving to first base (Adam LaRoche is only signed through 2012)."

• As for Harper, Mr. Knobler's colleague at CBSSports, Jon Heyman, wrote yesterday that the 19-year-old outfielder thinks the calf strain that's held him out of action for the last week could keep him from making the Opening Day roster:

"Slugging wunderkind Bryce Harper, 19, admitted today he doubts he can make the Nationals after missing a few key games with a calf issue. "Probably not,'' he said in answer to a question about whether he still has a chance to be picked to go north with the team. Then, he added, "It's all good though.''

D.C. GM Mike Rizzo told reporters this morning that the injury hasn't necessarily eliminated the possibility of Harper making his MLB debut in Wrigley Field on April 5th. "'We haven’t made any decision to the contrary,'" Rizzo's quoted stating by the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, "'He’s still in the picture. We’re still early in the decision-making process.'" Though obvious and oft-repeated [and at this point mandatory] concerns about getting a full year out of Harper later in his career rather than when he's 19 have to be mentioned here, the general manager has previously stated (in an interview on ESPN980) that the decision on Harper is, "... certainly not contract-based, it's not service-time based. It's going to be strictly based on the performance of the player and the development of the player and those are two distinct differentials."

As for the John Lannan rumors, the Nats' general manager's quoted in Washington Times' writer Amanda Comak's article this afternoon entitled, "Nationals not actively shopping John Lannan", saying that in spite of the rumors which have circulated since the Nats signed Edwin Jackson, "'I am not actively shopping him,' Rizzo said. 'I haven't actively shopped him all winter.'" Rizzo does say that he's fielded some calls, but writes it off to teams recognizing that the situation the team's in with its pitching depth.