VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals beat the Yankees today, in a game that typified mid-March action with all of its mixed reviews and mediocre performances. But whatever happened on the field, the news after the game was going to overshadow it - Bryce Harper was optioned to Single-A Hagerstown, ending the 18-year-old's impressive spring in major league camp.
I'll keep the game recap short today, because the Harper news overshadowed much of it and you probably already saw most of it on MASN. But here are today's awards:
Michael Morse: After the Nationals said Morse would likely be their everyday left fielder, he continued to show why he should get the job. He went 2-for-3, hitting a long homer to right center in the second inning.
Sean Burnett: There weren't many standout performances from the Nationals today, but Burnett came in to get a pair of outs when John Lannan's start got cut short, and did it without any problems. He's got a 0.00 ERA this spring.
Roger Bernadina: After a hot start, the outfielder is cooling off. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, and had a ball go off his glove in center field for a double that could have been scored an error.
Danny Espinosa: Another player in the middle of a strong camp, he went 0-for-3, striking out once and lowering his spring average to .367.
What to watch:
Yunesky Maya had a decent outing, throwing four innings after John Lannan, but walked three batters and still struggled locating his fastball effectively enough to be successful. His next two outings will be big; he'll likely get a start in the next one, and he needs to show he can get through a lineup two times efficiently.
And Bernadina will be worth watching in the next couple weeks; it seems he's competing with Nyjer Morgan for playing time in center field now, and he's showing some of the streakiness we saw last season. He's got a chance to claim the starting job in center, but he needs to separate himself.
The Nationals are back in Jupiter for the 24th time this spring, with Jordan Zimmermann taking the mound for a 1:05 p.m. start against the Marlins.
Time to pack up for the night. Talk to you tomorrow.