VIERA, Fla. -- Outfielder Bryce Harper is expected to travel with the Nationals to Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Monday and come off the bench against the Mets, according to manager Jim Riggleman. When he enters the game, Harper will play either left or right field.
It will be Harper's first professional game since he played in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .343 with a home run and seven RBIs in nine games for the Scottsdale Scorpions.
Harper, who was recently named Baseball America's top prospect and is No. 3 on MLB.com's list of top prospects, made it clear Tuesday afternoon that he is trying to make the Opening Day roster. However, he will most likely start the season with Class A Hagerstown.
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"I want to make that decision harder," Harper said. "I'm trying to stay up here as long as I can. [Outfielder Jayson] Werth and several of the guys came up to me and asked, 'Are you going to make the team or what?' I'm trying to make this club. ... If it doesn't happen, it's going to be a great experience being up here with all the veteran guys."
Harper continued to show what he can do in the batter's box on Wednesday, as he hit two home runs against reliever Cole Kimball during live batting practice.