Friday, March 11, 2011, 1:47 p.m.
By Mark Zuckerman
The Nationals sent 11 players to minor-league camp this afternoon but did not include Bryce Harper among the first significant round of cuts of the spring.
Right-handers Garrett Mock and Adam Carr were optioned to Class AAA Syracuse. Fellow right-handers J.D. Martin, Luis Atilano and Josh Wilkie; catchers Carlos Maldonado and Jhonatan Solano; first basemen Michael Aubrey and Kevin Barker; and outfielders Jeff Frazier and Jonathan Van Every were all re-assigned to minor-league camp.
Today's moves leave the Nationals' spring training roster at 46 with less than three weeks remaining before Opening Day.
Perhaps more notable than the names of the players sent down was the name of one particular player who survived this round of cuts: Harper. The 18-year-old outfielder has impressed so far during his first spring as a professional ballplayer, going 6-for-16 with three doubles and four RBI in 11 games off the bench.
Team officials have made it clear Harper, the No. 1 pick in last summer's draft, has no realistic shot of making the Opening Day roster. He's still expected to be optioned, likely to low-Class A Hagerstown, within the next week.
Mark Zuckerman also blogs about the Nationals at natsinsider.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.