Bryce Harper spent the majority of the 2014 campaign, when healthy, hitting sixth for the Washington Nationals, but Nats' skipper Matt Williams said earlier this Spring that Harper, one of two left-handed bats in the expected everyday lineup, would likely hit in the middle of the order this season.
"It certainly breaks the lineup up," Williams said. "It allows us to do some of that. I just want him to be Bryce and not throw expectation on him in that, 'Well, you need to hit 3-4.' I just want him to play, because when he does that and when he frees his mind up in that regard, he's really, really good."
Williams didn't say then where Harper or any of the other Nationals would hit on a regular basis this season.
"We'll make the lineup as we get further down the road," he explained, "but yeah, it's safe to say that he would most likely hit somewhere in the middle of our lineup, yeah."
In the Nationals' lineup for the first Grapefruit League game of the season, Williams has Harper hitting third, though it's probably important to note that not everyone (read: Jayson Werth) is available right now:
#Nats vs #Mets: SpanCF, Rendon3B, HarperRF, Zimmerman1B, RamosC, DesmondSS, Escobar2B, MooreLF, FrandsenDH, ScherzerP pic.twitter.com/Jxawe0aPxF— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 5, 2015
So... if Werth was available, where would you have him hitting? Fifth?
Max Scherzer is on the mound this afternoon for the first two innings of the 5:05 PM EST start. Williams said the other day that as usual, in the first start of the Spring, the right-hander will throw about 45 pitches. "Max will start and we'll follow him up with Tanner Roark," Williams said. "Two innings, 45-ish, depending on how it goes."
This afternoon's game is available through MLB.com's Gameday audio or it's on 710AM WOR in the NY metropolitan area...