Harper makes nice Triple-A debut; Morse and Ankiel in Bowie

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 a chilly Thursday afternoon in Syracuse, N.Y.

Playing center field, Harper went 2-for-4 in his first game at the Triple-A level, smacking a double, a single and stealing a base.

General manager Mike Rizzo said in an interview this week on 106.7 The Fan in D.C. that he would not place a bet on Harper remaining at the Triple-A level the entire season. Rizzo said Harper’s combination of speed, talent and athleticism fills a void in center field the Nationals have been searching for quite some time.

In Bowie, Md., Nationals left fielder Michael Morse went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in a rehab assignment from a right lat muscle injury. Teammate Rick Ankiel (quad injury) went 0-for-2 with a walk and two strikeouts in Double-A Harrisburg’s 4-2 loss to the Baysox.

The pair is expected to remain with the Senators during the four-game series that ends Sunday.

Rizzo said this week that Morse is eligible to come off the DL on April 10 and “we will assess him physically (at that time).”

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