WASHINGTON -- Out of the 50 players the Nationals selected in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, 19 remain unsigned. General manager Mike Rizzo hopes to get those players signed by the deadline, which is Monday at midnight ET.
The biggest name the team is trying to sign is outfielder Bryce Harper, the No. 1 overall pick. Rizzo said the talks between the two parties are amicable. For the second straight year, he is dealing with advisor Scott Boras, who also represented right-hander Stephen Strasburg.
"I feel confident that we will sign the guys we want to sign out of the Draft," Rizzo said. "It's a two-way street, and we are certainly doing our part. We are engaged in good dialogue and good communication.
"If you are speaking of [Harper], he's a player we really want in the organization. The talks and the negotiations are always difficult, and they're always unique. This is a unique situation just like Stephen Strasburg [was last year]. We're battling through it. We don't make a big public display of it. Suffice to say, we are working hard at [trying to sign him]."
Harper had the stats to warrant being taken with the No. 1 overall pick. In 2008, Harper had a .599 batting average with 11 home runs and 67 RBIs in 38 games for Las Vegas High School. He followed that up with a .626 batting average, 14 home runs and 55 RBIs the next season.
Playing against a high-level of competition and hitting with a wooden bat didn't present much of a challenge to Harper at the College of Southern Nevada. The 17-year-old hit .442 with 29 home runs and 89 RBIs during the 2010 regular season. And in the National Junior College World Series, Harper hit for the cycle while going 6-for-7. The next day, he went 2-for-5 in the first game of a doubleheader and 6-for-6 with four home runs in the nightcap.
Ray visits Nationals before signing deadline
WASHINGTON -- Left-hander Robbie Ray, the Nationals' 12th round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, had a bullpen session at Nationals Park around 1:00 p.m. ET on Saturday.
General manager Mike Rizzo declined to say how Ray threw in the session, but the team is trying to convince him to sign a professional contract before the deadline at midnight on Monday.
Ray is trying to decide whether to sign or attend the University of Arkansas on a full scholarship.
"We brought Robbie and his family in here to show him our campus, if you will," Rizzo said. "He has a full ride to the University of Arkansas. It's a very good baseball school and a very good institution. We wanted to show him what we're all about.
"He is a 12th round pick because he had a full commitment to the university. We see his ability as great ability. He is a left-handed pitcher that our scouting director [Kris Kline] loves. We're making every effort to impress him with our organization and show him what professional baseball could mean to him down the road. We want to give him an alternative to think about rather than just going to the University of Arkansas."
Morgan sets Minors rehab schedule
WASHINGTON -- Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan, on the disabled list because of a sore right hip, will go on a rehab assignment starting Sunday with Class A Advanced Potomac. He will play five innings before going to Class A Hagerstown the next day to play seven. On Tuesday, Morgan will play nine frames for Double-A Harrisburg before rejoining the Nationals in Atlanta on Wednesday.