I was able to check in with assistant general manager/vice president of player development Doug Harris on several Nationals’ prospects.
I will begin with position players.
* Infielder Ricky Hague returned last season after missing most of 2012 with a shoulder injury. He played in 128 games last season and compiled 437 at-bats.
“He is going to play a little more third base this year,” Harris said. “We will see where that takes us. Looking forward to him bouncing back this season as well.”
* Outfielder Erik Komatsu played in only 16 games last season, but is making nice progress.
“Komatsu is back. We just got to pile on the at-bats with him,” Harris said. “It has been a (long) time since he has been able to take the field on a regular basis. It appears at this point he will be ready to go.”
Here is Harris’ take on Bowe:
“He is a guy that the speed tool stands out. There are some things that we are asking him to make adjustments with regard to his approach offensively. How he is going to (administer) his plate plan on every given at-bat, what we are trying to get done (as an organization offensively). (We want to) utilize his speed tool, bunting, putting the ball on the ground, having a better understanding of who he is and how he needs to get into position to execute that.”
* Matt Skole will play third and first base this season.
“Obviously, we want to get him a ton of at-bats,” Harris said. “He is going to play both corners. We will space that out through the course of a week. He is in a great place physically and did an excellent job this winter as well (working on leg and overall strength).”
* I also wanted to get Harris’ take on the up-and-coming Dominican players.
“Several of those guys continue to make strides,” Harris said. “Rafael Batista continues to swing the bat well. He is a gifted center fielder, very instinctive young man. He has great makeup and aptitude. Hector Silvestre and Wander Suero have done a nice job. Jefry Rodriguez continues to work every day, maybe a tick behind, with him being a position player and he doesn’t pitch as much as the other guys. He has done a nice job. Wilmer Difo we haven’t talked a lot about but I am really anxious to watch him go play this year.”
Now to the pitchers.
* Brad Meyers was injured while with the Yankees in spring training two seasons ago and continues to work his way back to full health.
“Brad is still in his return to throw program. He is taking it day by day at this point,” Harris said.
* Left-hander Matt Purke was recently sent to minor league camp after pitching in three games for the Nationals. He threw 5 1/3 innings with 10 hits and seven runs allowed.
“I think this is going to be a fun year for Matthew,” Harris said. “It has been several years since he has not had a bump in the road prior to him coming to us. Being able to kind of turn him loose and let him go pitch, I know he is really looking forward to it. He has enjoyed a few major league camps now. I think he is more comfortable in the setting. The first major league camp a lot of times you are kind of caught up in a lot of the surroundings, rather than what you can learn from it. I think he is in a place now where he can really learn from the veterans and what our major league staff has to offer.”