Bryce Harper's second day, Chien-Ming Wang's progress, Jim Riggleman's meeting
Wednesday, February 23, 2011; 7:41 PM
I'm wrapping up a pretty busy here at Panera, otherwise known as the Svrluga Bureau. Before I call it a night, here are a few tidbits that haven't made it out of my notebook: >>>Bryce Harper didn't disappear after his first full-squad workout. During one outfield drill today, he made a nice, sliding catch on a shallow pop to center. During live batting practice, Harper first faced off against Cole Kimball. Kimball wheeled away the L-screen every other pitcher used for protection, which fits with Kimball's grip-it-and-rip-it persona. Kimball and Harper played together in the Arizona Fall League, and their faceoff was power on power. Harper smoked a laser over the fence in right, a home run that never got more than about 30 feet off the ground. Later on, Harper crushed a one-hopper off the fence against Adam Carr, another teammate from the Arizona Fall League. >>>Chien-Ming Wang threw live batting practice, a not-insignificant development. It's hard to get too excited when there's an L-screen and a batting cage involved, but this was technically the first time Wang had pitched to major league hitters since July 4, 2009. Wang looked relatively strong. His velocity seemed about right, and his pitches had some decent movement. He was also wild, and when he did throw one over the plate, Ian Desmond rocked a line drive off the left-field fence. Wang has a ways to go yet, but we knew that. It was an important step, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him in a spring training game at some point. >>>Early this morning, as the other Nationals began warming up, Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond ducked into Manager Jim Riggleman's office. Riggleman had already met with Jason Marquis and Alex Cora, and he plans to meet with several other Nationals veterans. Riggleman wants to let his experienced players establish ground rules for the clubhouse - "their clubhouse," as Riggleman said. He gave them a list of issues and encouraged them to create their own guidelines. Riggleman wants order, but he's willing to let the players he trusts most establish it. "I want them to police each other and come up with some standards they will be comfortable with in their clubhouse -- things that pertain to music, card playing, family and friends in the clubhouse," Riggleman said. "They will come up with those rules. I'll look it over with the coaching staff and Mike Rizzo, and see how comfortable we are with those standards. We'll come up with a finite set of rules." It is telling that Riggleman included Desmond with Zimmerman and Werth, a second-year player mixed in with the face of the franchise and the team's highest-paid player. You get the feeling that if Riggleman had to start his own team and could only take one player from the Nationals with him, he might go with Desmond. The Nationals added more veteran players this offseason, and I talked to Ryan Zimmerman for a bit about the changes that could lead to. I'll work on posting that up here for the morning.