SYRACUSE In the middle of the Syracuse Chiefs’ first significant winning streak of the 2012 International League season, two of the team’s most promising young players were suddenly called up to the Washington Nationals last weekend.
After sweeping a doubleheader against the Red Wings in Rochester Thursday, April 26, the Chiefs postponed Friday evening’s game against the Charlotte Knights here at Alliance Bank Stadium. That night the Nationals announced that Bryce Harper would join the big-league club the next day on the West Coast.
Harper’s promotion came somewhat earlier than expected because Nationals’ third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was suffering an inflamed right shoulder making room for 2010’s No. 1 overall draft pick. Harper had been treading water in Syracuse hitting .250 with only one homer and three RBIs in 72 at-bats.
Harper flew from Central New York to Los Angeles where he made his major-league debut Saturday, April 28, against the Dodgers, going one-for-three including an RBI double off hurler Chad Billingsley.
Then on Sunday, April 29, Chiefs first baseman Tyler Moore was promoted to the Nationals after utilityman Mark DeRosa was placed on the 15-day DL. The 25-year-old Moore was hitting .286 with 7 HR and 20 RBI in 22 games with Syracuse. In each of his last two years in the minors, Moore hit 31 home runs, but he still strikes out more than once in every five at-bats.
When superstar outfielder Jayson Werth (a former Syracuse SkyChief) was mysteriously scratched from the Nationals lineup Sunday, Moore found himself patrolling left field and batting sixth in his first-ever major-league appearance the day after Harper’s debut. Both Moore and Harper contributed singles to Washington’s offensive effort on Sunday.
Don’t be surprised if either or both players soon return to Syracuse. Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, told the Washington Post that the promotion is “more than likely not going to be permanent.” Harper and Moore could be reassigned to Triple-A once Zimmerman and DeRosa are healthy.