Before Bryce Harper's boldness and brashness can settle in Washington, D.C., they will have to make a stop in Central New York.
The Washington Nationals optioned Harper to Triple-A Syracuse Sunday, ending any hopes of the 19-year-old starting the season in the majors.
"I didn't want to break camp and struggle," Harper said to reporters in Viera, Fla., Sunday. "I didn't want to go up there and go 2-for-15 and everybody's all over me, saying 'He needs a little more seasoning.' I just want to go down there and get better, get on my groove, get on a streak, be called up and hopefully be a game changer for the Nationals."
Harper hit better than 2-for-15 during spring training, going 8-for-26 (.286) in the Grapefruit League. Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Sunday that Harper's demotion has nothing to do with his play.
"I love everything about him," Johnson said to ESPN. "He just needs to go to Class AAA and get a little comfortable there. He's the real deal. He doesn't need to work on anything. He just needs to get at-bats in Class AAA, so there won't be any naysayers."
Harper has been about proving those naysayers wrong and he will be able to start his journey in center field with the Chiefs. Before he left Florida, however, Harper had some parting words.
"It sucks, of course, but I'm just going to take it and go down there, work hard, and try to get up here as quick as I can," he said.
We will be waiting, Bryce.
Adam Vingan is co-founder and editor of Kings Of Leonsis, a Caps-centric blog, and is the Capitals Editor for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_KOL and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.