Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo revealed to the media Friday that phenom left fielder Bryce Harper was being called up to the majors for the first time in his career, replacing third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the Nationals’ 25-man roster. Zimmerman was placed in the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder injury.
But was it Rizzo that told Harper he was heading to the bigs?
No, Rizzo said he gives that “honor and luxury” to the manager of the player.
So, Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs manager Tony Beasley got to break the news to Harper in his office around 4:30 p.m. Eastern time Friday.
Beasley said it was not an overly emotional meeting, but he said Harper was certainly “humble and grateful” that at 19 years of age he would be playing in the majors.
“He was stunned,” Beasley said. “I don’t think he quite knew how to take the news. Bryce was kind of at a loss for words. He kind of just took it all in. He was very excited and humble.
“Bryce didn’t know whether he should laugh, cry or lay down on the floor. I don’t really think it had sunk in yet” that Harper’s dream of playing in the major leagues was about to come true.
Beasley said they then had a sit down talk about what to expect in the big leagues.
“I tried to prepare him as best I could as to what he might see, the things he would face at the top stage,” Beasley said.
Beasley told Harper it will be a different world, but believes the young star can succeed.
“I don’t know what the (long term) plans are. He will play hard and be competitive,” Beasley said. “Bryce will have to make adjustments. Mark DeRosa, Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche and others will help him and share their experience. The Nationals have a good staff and (manager) Davey Johnson is a ‘people person’. They have everything he needs right now to just go out and play.”
Saturday, Harper will get that chance to “go out and play” on the world’s biggest stage, in the major leagues, with the Washington Nationals. The day he has been waiting for since he enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada in what should have been his junior year of high school.
That was 27 months ago.