Bryce Harper hits first homers, goes deep twice for Phillies
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Bryce Harper showed off his mighty power a week before opening day.
The slugger hit his first two Grapefruit League homers for the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, driving one completely out of the ballpark.
“I feel good right now,” Harper said. “The swing feels good. The timing is coming along. I’ll take the next couple days and really try to solidify my timing, have good at-bats, keep seeing pitches, walking. When I’m walking, that’s when I’m at my best. See as many pitches as I can, jump on some early and have good at-bats.”
Harper is hitting .231 (3 for 13) with two homers, three RBIs, six walks and seven strikeouts this spring. He got a late start after signing a $330 million, 13-year contract on March 2. The six-time All-Star with the Washington Nationals had the richest contract in baseball history for less than three weeks. The Los Angeles Angels gave Mike Trout a 12-year, $426.5 million contract Wednesday.
Harper ripped a two-run shot off right-hander Sam Gaviglio in the first inning, sending a hard liner over the right-field wall. His solo shot in the sixth off lefty Thomas Pannone sailed over the fans in the standing-room section in right field and cleared the back fence.
“I thought the first one was a rocket and had an incredible carry and the second one I thought was squared up even better,” manager Gabe Kapler said.
“The lineup is looking good,” Harper said. “We’re all excited to get up north.”
The Phillies will host the Atlanta Braves in their season opener on March 28.