MLB notes: Harper won't play for Nationals in 2011

Hagerstown's Bryce Harper bats left but throws right. He signed with Washington for $9.9 million, including a $6.25 million bonus.
Hagerstown's Bryce Harper bats left but throws right. He signed with Washington for $9.9 million, including a $6.25 million bonus.

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said Wednesday that Bryce Harper will not be called up to the big club in 2011, even after rosters are expanded in September.

"We feel that his development is not ready to play in the big leagues," Rizzo said.

Harper was hitting .366 with nine home runs, 31 RBI and six stolen bases for Class-A Hagerstown. The 18-year-old slugger and last year's No. 1 overall draft pick, who hit his first homer against the Legends in Lexington, has been especially dominant since getting new contact lenses.

"His defense in the outfield, base-running, all the little things that come into play is what we wanted him to work on at that level ... and he's doing great."

So when might Harper be promoted to Class-A Potomac of the Carolina League?

"It's not any one thing," Rizzo said. "It's just an overall evaluation of where he's at."

Holliday, Berkman leave Cards game

Cardinals cleanup hitter Matt Holliday was removed after two innings Wednesday, complaining of tightness in his left quadriceps. The Cardinals were minus all three starting outfielders after Lance Berkman was taken out as a precaution with discomfort in his right wrist in the sixth shortly after making a diving catch in right against the Astros. Pete Kozma, called up earlier in the day after utilityman Nick Punto was placed on the 15-day DL, hit an RBI double in his first career at-bat to put the Cardinals up 5-0.

Holliday starts in left field, and center fielder Colby Rasmus missed his fourth straight game recovering from a minor abdominal muscle pull. Punto joins 3B David Freese (broken hand) and 2B Skip Schumaker (triceps) on the DL.

Hamilton cleared for rehab stint

Josh Hamilton has been cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment after an exam showed "significant healing" in his broken right arm. The Rangers said Hamilton will be the DH Wednesday night for Double-A Frisco.

Short hops

■ Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez might have his right hip examined this week, although he insists he's not feeling pain and has no desire to miss any playing time. Rodriguez was in the starting lineup Wednesday against the Orioles.

Stephen Strasburg is ready to start throwing off a mound, the next step in his recovery from reconstructive elbow surgery. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said Strasburg was in Washington on Tuesday to be examined by the team's orthopedic surgeon.

■ The Diamondbacks reinstated IF Willie Bloomquist from the 15-day DL Wednesday and called up IF Sean Burroughs from Triple-A Reno. Bloomquist hit .306 with seven RBI in 14 games before getting hurt. Burroughs, 30, was hitting .386 with 15 RBI in 27 games in the minors.

■ Red Sox RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka could miss a month with a sprained ligament in his pitching elbow, marking the third straight season he'll be out for quite a while. Matsuzaka was put on the 15-day DL Wednesday. Boston Manager Terry Francona said it will be two weeks before Matsuzaka is examined again and that he won't throw until then.