MLB

Harper takes cuts at National Mall

Share This Story

   
 

WASHINGTON (AP)

One day before making his much-anticipated home debut, rookie Bryce Harper took his first swings in Washington on the National Mall.

The 19-year-old Harper was sightseeing in the nation's capital during a day off Monday when a few guys playing softball recognized the Washington Nationals rookie and asked him to take a couple of cuts.

''I hadn't seen the Lincoln Memorial before so I wanted to go over there and check that out,'' Harper said. ''I was just walking through and they asked me if I'd take a few hacks.''

After politely declining, Harper ultimately accepted the invitation and hit a few drives before chatting with curious onlookers.

''I was trying to interact with the community, the fans a little bit. I like doing that kind of stuff,'' Harper said Tuesday, hours before playing his first game at Nationals Park.

The kid when 0 for 3 against Arizona on Tuesday night before a crowd of 22,675, but he thrilled the fans with a few solid plays in left field, including a 300-foot, no-bounce throw to the plate that nearly doubled up a runner trying to score on a fly ball.

Harper, the top pick in the 2010 draft, made his big league debut in Los Angeles against the Dodgers last weekend and went 2 for 6 in two games. He was called up to replace injured slugger Ryan Zimmerman, who could return from shoulder inflammation as soon as Sunday.

That doesn't mean Harper will be immediately heading back to Triple-A Syracuse.

DESPICABLE ME

Is there an athlete more reviled than A-Rod? Check out Forbes' list of the 10 most hated sports figures.

''We'll just see how his development goes,'' Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. ''If I'm satisfied with how he's developing and how he's performing, how he's interacting, if he's ready mentally, physically and emotionally, then he'll stay.''

Nothing Harper has done would indicate the teenager is overwhelmed by his environment — or major league pitching.

''I like everything about him,'' manager Davey Johnson said. ''He's aggressive, an old-school player. He's handled himself like a professional athlete. Really, ever since I've seen him he's had quality at-bats.''

Harper was surrounded by cameras, tape recorders and a bevy of microphones on Tuesday afternoon. If he was bothered by the attention or nervous about playing his first big league game before the home fans, it was not apparent.

He appeared confident, poised and humble all at the same time.

''It's the same game I've been playing my whole life. I'm just trying to take it like that,'' he said. ''Take one day at a time, one at-bat at a time. Not try to get too excited. Just trying to stay as calm as I can be.''

Harper hopes to stick around long enough to see a little more of the nation's capital. He got plenty accomplished during his first foray Monday, including an impromptu pinch-hitting appearance in a softball game, but a return trip to downtown D.C. seems inevitable.

Asked his impression of the Mall, Harper replied: ''I loved it; I thought it was awesome. Everything in the city is really cool. Historic facts behind the city. Seeing the White House, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson, and all that kind of stuff. The Monument. I don't think you could play in a better city.''

He's already getting noticed in Washington. There were thousands of tourists on the Mall on Monday, yet this particular group of softball players recognized Harper before he'd even played a single game in his home park.

''They see the rat tail and the tattoos,'' he said, ''so I think they can notice that.''

Tagged: Nationals

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..