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Bryce Harper scheduled to make spring training debut Monday

Bryce Harper

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper smiles as he talks with teammates before the start of a spring training baseball workout Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011, in Viera, Fla. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


Bryce Harper has no chance of actually making the Opening Day roster, but the 18-year-old No. 1 overall pick is in big-league camp and Mark Zuckerman of reports that his spring training debut will come Monday as the Nationals open the exhibition schedule versus the Mets.

Harper, who was named the top prospect in the game by Baseball America earlier this week, will travel to the Mets’ ballpark in Port St. Lucie and is expected to come off the bench for at least one at-bat.

Zuckerman writes that Harper’s “spring training playing time is expected to be minimal” and “he’s unlikely to start any games” before presumably being among the Nationals’ first cuts about two weeks from now. Or as manager Jim Riggleman put it: “I’m hoping that he kind of blends in. I’m not looking for him to excel against major-league pitching.”