Bryce Harper hits leadoff for first time since 2013

Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper (34) talks with home plate umpire Nic Lentz, right, after he was called out on strikes during the third inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Saturday, April 28, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

WASHINGTON (AP) Bryce Harper is hitting leadoff for the Washington Nationals for the first time since 2013.

The five-time All-Star and 2015 NL MVP leads the major leagues with 38 walks – eight of them intentional – but entered Tuesday’s game against Pittsburgh in a 5-for-35 slump. He has not had an extra-base hit since April 16.

”Last night I spoke to Harp and I just came to the conclusion: `Why not?”’ Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “He’s a little frustrated and, hopefully, he gets some more pitches to hit.”

Harper led off 16 times in 2013, his second major league season.

”You lead off one time in a game, and every other at-bat it really doesn’t matter,” Harper said.

He leads the NL with a .458 on-base percentage but is frustrated with his walks.

”Yeah, at 25 years old you want to hit the baseball,” Harper said.

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