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Bryce Harper Promoted to AA Harrisburg

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The Nationals have promoted top prospect Bryce Harper to AA Harrisburg today per Nationals beat reporter Bill Ladson in this tweet:

@washingnats

William Ladson

I just learned that #Nats OF Bryce Harper has been promoted to Double A Harrisburg. I'll have more on MLB.com.

1 hour ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

I drafted Harper in the minor league portion of the UBA keeper league draft back in early April with the thought that he could be in the majors to start the 2012 season, and this move could make that happen, assuming Harper continues to hit like he has in Low -A Hagerstown this season.

Harper is hitting .318-.423-.554 with 14 HRs, 46 RBIs, 49 runs, 19 SBs in 24 attempts, with a 61-44 K/BB rate in 258 at bats in Low A. He was selected to play in the Southern Atlantic League All Star game and will appear in the Futures game next Sunday in Phoenix, Arizona.

This move opens the possibility he will be called up in September when Harrisburg's regular season is over. The Nationals have been open in their search for a center fielder via trade this season, and I wonder if Harper will fill that void for them as early as this season. He has played 20 games in center field for Hagerstown thus far this season, and it will be interesting to see if he plays there for AA Harrisburg.

Are the Nationals rushing Harper?

An Update on GM Mike Rizzo's plans for Harper after the jump:

Update-11:30am

Harper will play left field for Harrisburg and finish the season there, and will play at AAA Syracuse before seeing the majors per GM Mike Rizzo in these tweets from MASN's Ben Goessling:

masnBen Ben Goessling onMASN

Harper will play left field in Harrisburg; Rizzo wants him to get exposed to all three outfield spots so he could play anywhere in majors.

masnBen Ben Goessling onMASN

Harper will likely finish the year at Harrisburg, play at Syracuse before coming to the majors, Rizzo said.

22 minutes ago