Harper returned to the Nationals’ lineup Monday after returning from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb. Manager Matt Williams had him starting in left field and batting sixth. Harper was not a fan of either decision.
When asked Monday about the Nats having Ryan Zimmerman play left field, Harper said he was in favor of it.
“I think it’s great. I think he should be playing left,” Harper said via The Washington Post. “(Anthony) Rendon’s a good third baseman. He should be playing third. We’ve got one of the best second basemen in the league in Danny Espinosa. Of course, we want the best-hitting lineup in there. I think Rendon playing third and Zim playing left is something that would be good for this team. I think that should be what’s happening.”
Instead, Harper has been in left both games he’s been back. Denard Span has been in center while Espinosa, who is batting .217 on the season, has been on the bench. Zimmerman has been back at third and Rendon has been at second.
Williams responded by saying he was happy to have Harper back in the lineup. He declined to comment on Harper’s preferences.
Harper also indicated he’d prefer to bat elsewhere in the lineup.
“If I had the lineup, it would maybe not be the same. He’s got the lineup card. He’s got the pen. That’s what he’s doing. So there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m hitting sixth tonight. Hopefully I can be able to get some runners on base in front of me and get some protection and hopefully get some knocks.”
Relax, Bryce. There’s nothing wrong with having you bat sixth for now until you get back in the flow. The lineup is still pretty solid 1-5. But you have to love a 21-year-old kid who isn’t afraid to question his manager.