No promotion yet, son
Bryce Harper won't be hitting the major leagues this year, no matter how much he tears up minor-league pitching.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Wednesday that a call-up for Harper to the big club is "not going to happen" in 2011, even in September.
"He's not ready for that to happen," Rizzo told ESPN980. "He's got to learn the nuances of the game of baseball. We certainly don't want him to push him to a level where he's overmatched and struggles even for a short period of time. We're just not going to put him in a place where he has a chance to fail until we feel that he's 100 percent ready for that level."
Harper is hitting .366 with nine home runs, 31 RBIs and six stolen bases for single-A Hagerstown. The 18-year-old slugger and last year's No. 1 overall draft pick has been especially dominant since getting new contact lenses.
He also is getting used to the minor-league grind: He and his Suns teammates have logged 66 hours and 3,316 miles curled up on the team bus since the South Atlantic League opener April 7 in Rome, Ga.
"I don't know what else he could do for us," Suns manager Brian Daubach told SI.com. "He's learning a lot. The travel can be wearing, especially when you are not used to it. But, it's a good experience to learn how to play when you're tired. In the big leagues, there are more games, unfamiliar hotel beds, cross-country flights and 4 a.m. arrivals."
Rizzo said he'll know when Harper's ready.
"Believe me, if I felt he was ready to hit in the big leagues right now and perform in the big leagues right now, he would be up in the big leagues," the GM said.
Bonds gets break
Barry Bonds' post-trial hearing was postponed from Friday to June 17, giving prosecutors more time to consider whether to retry the home-run king and allowing the former player's lawyers another month to sharpen their arguments for throwing out the lone conviction.
The seven-time NL MVP was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice April 13 for giving an evasive answer in 2003 to a grand jury investigating the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs.
The long road back
The "other" Nationals phenom, flame-throwing righthander Stephen Strasburg, is ready to start throwing off a mound, the next step in his recovery from reconstructive elbow surgery. The 22-year-old had ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow Sept. 3, and it is expected to take 12-18 months for him to return to the majors. He has been throwing only on flat ground.
The top pick in the 2009 amateur draft out of San Diego State, Strasburg had 14 strikeouts in his big-league debut in June and went 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA in 12 starts. He struck out 92 batters in 68 innings.
St. Louis placed infielder Nick Punto on the disabled list with a right forearm injury. Infielder Pete Kozma, the Cardinals' first-round pick in 2007, was recalled from triple-A Memphis and made the major leagues for the first time.. . . Arizona reinstated infielder Willie Bloomquist from the 15-day DL (right hamstring) and called up infielder Sean Burroughs from triple-A Reno.