VIERA, Fla. - A couple afternoon updates before the Nationals' 6:05 p.m. start with the Cardinals:
* Bryce Harper took batting practice on the minor league side today, and he should be ready to go for Single-A Hagerstown's April 7 opener in Rome, Ga. General manager Mike Rizzo said Harper is doing fine, revising his characterization of the 18-year-old's injury from a medium sprain to a mild sprain.
* The Nationals optioned right-hander Yunesky Maya to Triple-A Syracuse today, cutting their spring roster to 34. Maya had a 3.29 ERA in four appearances this spring, looking early in camp like he might have a shot to make the rotation. But he still needs to refine his fastball command to make his sharp curveball more effective, and he'll get a chance to do that in the minors to begin the year.