District Daily: Michael Taylor Called Up, Bryce Harper Denies Controversy


Aug 9, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper (34) reacts after being injured while batting against the Atlanta Braves during the sixth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Gio Gonzalez couldn’t hold it all together on Sunday night, but there’s a new week ahead. All the latest Nationals news and links are below.

Nats prospect Taylor excited for big league callup

(Bill Ladson, MLB.com)

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ATLANTA — With Steven Souza Jr.on the 15-day disabled list because of a left shoulder contusion, the Nationals recalled outfielder Michael Taylor on Sunday.

Taylor, 23, is considered by MLB.com to be the third-best prospect in the Nationals’ farm system. He is having the best season of his professional career, hitting a combined .315 with 22 home runs and 63 RBIs for Double A-Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse.

Taylor knew something was up when he was scratched from Saturday’s game against Louisville. At first, Syracuse manager Billy Gardner Jr. told him that he wasn’t playing because he didn’t try hard enough to first base on a ground ball. Read full article here.

Souza sent for MRI on ailing left shoulder

(Bill Ladson, MLB.com)

ATLANTA — On Saturday, Nationals outfielder Steven Souza Jr. said his left shoulder was feeling better after crashing into the right-field wall the day before. As it turned out, Souza’s shoulder is much worse than expected. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a shoulder contusion.

According to manager Matt Williams, Souza couldn’t swing a bat on Saturday, and he was sent to Washington on Sunday to get the shoulder checked out by the team doctor. Souza pinch-ran for Jayson Werth in the top of the 11th inning Saturday.

“We put him through some tests yesterday, and he couldn’t swing. It was very painful to swing the bat,” Williams said. “So we decided to go ahead and send him back to get an MRI, make sure that the shoulder is OK. He hit that wall pretty hard.” Read full article here.

Harper denies intent with stepping on Braves logo

(Joe Morgan, MLB.com)

ATLANTA — Braves fans have greeted Bryce Harper with loud boos all weekend long at Turner Field, and he appeared to respond on Saturday night by dragging his right spike across Atlanta’s “A” logo stenciled in the dirt behind home plate.

Harper appeared to do it two more times but denied any ill intent following the game. The clip of the first scuffing made its way around online, and the Braves’ Twitter account only added to the buzz by posting, “#RespectTheA.”

“That’s the last thing on my mind when I’m walking up to the plate. I really had no idea. When [a Nationals spokesperson] came up to me, I had no clue that I did anything,” Harper said. “Seriously, that’s the last thing on my mind going to face [Aaron] Harang or [Craig] Kimbrel or somebody like that. I had no idea why that was such a big deal. Of course, that’s the last thing on my mind.” Read full article here.