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Cole Hamels admits he hit Bryce Harper on purpose

Since being called up from the minors a little over a week ago, Bryce Harper has proven to the Nationals that he deserves to stay — at least for now. Harper has come up with clutch hits and made a few tremendous plays in the field, and he’s part of the reason Washington continues to win. Perhaps the problem for opponents has been that the 19-year-old is too comfortable. Cole Hamels tried to change that in the first inning on Sunday by drilling Harper in the back with a 93-mph fastball.

“I was trying to hit him,” Hamels admitted after his dominating performance. “I’m not going to deny it. I’m not trying to injure the guy. They’re probably not going to like me for it, but I’m not going to say I wasn’t trying to do it. I think they understood the message, and they threw it right back. That’s the way, and I respect it. They can say whatever they want.”

Hamels, who pitched eight innings and allowed just one run while striking out eight, said he did not intend to send a message to Harper nor was he trying to fire up his team. He also praised Harper’s athletic ability and potential.

“If I was getting swagger back for our side, I think I’d have to drill quite a few people because you’re in their home ballpark,” Hamels said. “It’s just, ‘Welcome to the big leagues.’ And I think he kind of did that for me.”

Some may even say the kid got even immediately. After being hit, Harper took advantage by showcasing his speed on the base paths. He went from first to third on a Jayson Werth single and then stole home on a Hamels pick-off attempt to first base. We know Harper is kind of a tool since he does things like this, but there’s no denying he’s an electric young talent.

Photo credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

Bryce Harper catches a ball barehanded against his glove (Animated)

Kids, this is why you use two hands to catch a baseball. Most professional outfielders don’t subscribe to this theory, but I’m sure they did at one point in their lives. More often than not pro ballplayers catch fly balls with one hand, and 999 times out of 1,000 it works out for the best. On Wednesday night, Bryce Harper showed us why using two hands can be crucial for that one time when things might go wrong.

As you can see from the GIF above that @ChadMoriyama shared with us, Harper stumbled during the 6th inning against the Diamondbacks and almost dropped a routine fly ball. Fortunately, he managed to use his throwing hand to corral the ball against his glove and avoid an extremely embarrassing moment like the one he recently had outside the Washington Monument. The kid may be annoying, but he’s certainly fundamentally sound.

Fist pound to Big League Stew

Bryce Harper plays slow pitch softball near Washington Monument (Video)

19-year-old Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper decided to get in on a softball game in Washington, D.C. while sightseeing on a day off Monday.

“I hadn’t seen the Lincoln Memorial before so I wanted to go over there and check that out,” Harper said before his game with the Nats on Tuesday. “I was just walking through and they asked me if I’d take a few hacks.”

Harper politely declined at first, but then he accepted the invitation.

“I was trying to interact with the community, the fans a little bit. I like doing that kind of stuff,” Harper said.

According to the DC Sports Bog, the softball game was between the World Wildlife Fund Fighting Pandas and the Alliance to Save Energy Killer Watts. They tell a slightly different story from Harper, saying that he offered to jump in.

“We didn’t ask him to play; he just wanted to jump in,” Fighting Pandas center fielder Nick Conger told DC Sports Bog. “He couldn’t help himself.”

Harper took a few cuts, including one where he shockingly whiffed. He did get his swing together and launched a bomb later in the at-bat. What’s surprising is that he’s not the first star MLB player to do something like this. Remember when this guy did it?

Thanks to Nats Enquirer via Deadspin for the video

Bryce Harper’s first hit ruined by fans who mooned the camera

Bryce Harper may have the ball from his first career hit, but the video clip shown on TV is ruined. A couple of kids at Dodger Stadium for the Nats-Dodgers game on Saturday night spoiled Harper’s first hit by mooning the center field camera. Yup, two rascals with a well thought out plan dropped trou as the 3-2 pitch was coming from Chad Billingsley. Harper blasted the pitch for a double off the base of the wall in center, and proceeded to knock off his helmet between first and second to show off his brilliant haircut to the world.

Dodgers fans were all over Harper all night. Not only did these juniors moon during his at-bat, but the fans booed him when he came to bat, and he heard it from the fans in the left field pavilion most of the game.

No word if Harper responded by blowing the kids a kiss.

Forearm bash to Deadspin

Bryce Harper called up to majors by Nats

Bryce Harper is coming to the show. The Nationals announced on Friday that heavily-hyped prospect is being called up to the majors to replace Ryan Zimmerman who is going on the disabled list with an injured shoulder.

Harper is only 19 years old and has less than 500 career minor league at-bats, but the former No. 1 overall pick may get his crack at big league pitching on Saturday. The Nats are facing the Dodgers in Los Angeles and the pitchers will be Stephen Strasburg and Chad Billingsley.

The move is surprising for two reasons. One, Harper was only batting .250 with one home run and three RBIs in Triple-A, so they’re moving him up even though he’s not hitting the ball too well. Two, they’re calling him up in April rather than June, meaning his major league service time clock will begin ticking earlier and he could eventually earn more money through arbitration as a “Super Two” player.

It looks like the Nats, who lead the National League with a 14-5 record, are not messing around. I guess manager Davey Johnson is getting his wish.

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Bryce Harper sent to minors after striking out four times, will play center field

The Nationals optioned Bryce Harper to Triple-A Syracuse Sunday, the same day he struck out four times in a spring training loss to the Tigers. Harper was probably headed to the minors to begin the season regardless of his performance in spring training, but missing six games with a calf injury and then punching out four times in the same game probably made it easier for the team to send him down.

The interesting part about Bryce starting in the minors is that the team plans to play him in center field. The Washington Post says the team sees him making it to the majors as a center fielder, which would make things easier for Jayson Werth who feels comfortable playing right field.

GM Mike Rizzo also wants Harper to experience every level in the minors, so that’s why he’s starting in Triple-A, the only level he hasn’t played yet. It’s a smart move for the Nats on a few fronts. One, starting Harper at Triple-A should motivate him to reach his goal of making the majors because t will give him more time to mature as a person and player. Additionally, it keeps his MLB service time clock from starting, delaying his free agency.

Bryce Harper is playing the wrong sport, wants to ‘run your ass over’

As Major League Baseball anxiously awaits the day that Bryce Harper arrives on the scene to ruffle as many feathers as possible, the 19-year-old phenom has done his best to keep his jaw muscles in shape. Most recently, Harper brought his tough guy act to an interview with GQ Magazine, during which he tried to describe his passion for baseball but gave off the impression that he should be playing football, which he said is the sport he misses most from his childhood.

“I’m getting chills just thinking about it,” Harper explained. “That first knock of the game, you are going on kickoff and you are just trying to smack somebody just as hard as you can. That’s how I play baseball. I want to hit you. I want to run your ass over. Sorry.

“I want to play the game hard. I want to ram it down your throat, put you into left field when I’m going into second base.”

When Harper does finally reach the MLB level, people are going to hate him. He’s a cocky kid who has been known to blow kisses at opposing pitchers and act like an idiot when things don’t go his way. In fact, even his own hometown radio hosts think Harper is a d-bag. Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt predicts Harper could be in for a rude awakening when he finally goes up against the big guns.

“I would think at some point the game itself, the competition on the field, is going to have to figure out a way to police this young man,” Schmidt said.

Bryce is a tremendous talent, but he would be wise to not blow a kiss to someone like Justin Verlander when he reaches the Majors. Unless, of course, he enjoys pain so much that a 101-mph fastball to the ear won’t bother him.

H/T Hardball Talk