VIERA, Fla. - When the Nationals took the field just prior to the top of the first inning, their top prospect was missing from what was set to be his starting spot in right field.
Bryce Harper has been scratched from today's starting lineup. Manager Davey Johnson has moved Brett Carroll moving from center field to right and Eury Perez will take over in center field.
There's no word as of yet on why Harper was a late scratch.
Harper, the 19-year-old phenom who is battling for a spot on the Nationals' opening day roster, played in the Nats' first five games of spring (including an exhibition against Georgetown), but got the day off yesterday.
The right fielder has gone 5-for-11 (.455) so far this spring.
I'll obviously pass on word as to the reason for the scratch once I get word.
Update: According to a Nats spokesman, Harper was scratched due to left calf tightness. He's listed as day-to-day.
We'll have more on Harper's status from Johnson after the game.
Dan Kolko was named MASNsports.com's Nationals beat writer after spending the last four years covering the Baltimore Ravens for MASN and also serving as the Web site's deputy managing editor. A University of Delaware graduate originally from Silver Spring, Md., Dan grew up a die-hard baseball fan and is thrilled for the opportunity to cover the Nationals. Before joining MASN, Dan worked in production at Comcast SportsNet in Bethesda, Md., and also interned at the "George Michael Sports Machine" in Washington, D.C.
Follow Dan Kolko on Twitter: @DanKolko