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Posted at 4:01 PM ET, 02/28/2011

Bryce Harper's spring training debut ends with two strikeouts

By Adam Kilgore

bryce.jpg

Bryce Harper saw seven pitches and struck out twice in his spring training debut, an inauspicious beginning for the 18-year-old first pick of the 2010 draft.

Harper entered the game as a pinch-runner for designated hitter Matt Stairs in the top of the fifth inning. He bumped fists with Stairs, 43, who made his major league debut on May 29, 1992, 140 days before Harper was born. As he stepped on first, the crowd of 3,461 at Digital Domain Park roared and clapped.

Harper's day went downhill from there. He faced Taylor Tankersley, a difficult matchup for any lefty, in his first at-bat, in the seventh inning. Harper rubbed dirt on his hands, which he had already covered in chalk. He fouled away the first pitch, swung and missed at the second and then missed the third, a slider.

Harper saw one more pitch in the ninth, against Ryota Igarashi, but struck out swinging at an 86-mph sinking fastball.

The Nationals won, 9-3, behind Michael Morse's two home runs and four RBI. We'll have much more to come.

By Adam Kilgore  | February 28, 2011; 4:01 PM ET
 
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Next: Michael Morse states his case

Comments

Welcome to the show, kid.

Posted by: gonatsgo1 | February 28, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Don't count your chickens before they hatch. The grass is always greener on the other side. A bird in the hand...

Posted by: fischy | February 28, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

>>Get nyger out of dc Posted by: bmmanion

Even money Morgan starts the season in CF and Morse starts on the bench.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 28, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Pound that Budwesier.

Posted by: gonatsgo1 | February 28, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

>>Willie Harris misses the Nationals

Ya think? I'd miss a team too if they kept plating me (a sub .200 hitter) over a .300 hitter. You don't find many mangers beside DoubleSwitch who would do that.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 28, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Hu Rae for Morse. It would be Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious to see him crack the starting lineup and be a success story this year.

Posted by: MartinZook | February 28, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Isn't this win a change from years past?

Posted by: longbow1 | February 28, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Nooooooooo!!!!! Harper is a bust!! This is somehow all Kasten and Riggleman's fault!!!!! (Or am I overreacting?) :-)
There's baseball again. All is right with the world.

Posted by: InTheCheapSeats | February 28, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

@skins_fan_22,

Riggleman gave Morse 5 at bats today ... a privilege he did not render to Bernadina and none to Ankiel. He also moved him to third base in replacement of Hairston.

Morse's bat will lead but his handling of third base also helped his cause in the eyes of the Nats FO. And it was Riggleman giving him (and Harper) the chance to shine and to shine early. One took full advantage of the opportunity afforded by Riggleman ... the other appears to have more to learn than he and many others thought.

You can't fault Riggleman for this ... he is giving Morse every chance to win a starting job. But Riggleman isn't the only one making the decision.

Posted by: periculum | February 28, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

>>Riggleman gave Morse 5 at bats today ... a privilege he did not render to Bernadina and none to Ankiel.

Perc, Those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
They're probably trying to showcase him for a trade. Morse could bat .1000 in ST and he aint cracking the starting lineup come opening day. Did you not even watch the Nats last year?
Riggleman can't stand the guy. He'd rather play a Willie Harris than him.

As sure as the sun's comin up tomorrow, Nyjer Morgan will be starting in CF opening day even if he's 0 for 100 in ST and Mr. Mike will be riding the pine even if he clobbers 20 bombs.
Bank it.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 28, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, Mickey Mantle was 19 for his first spring training game with the Yankees and had three hits. Later was sent down to Kansas City, before coming up to the big leagues for good.

Posted by: dorseylaw | February 28, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Harper's a bum. DFA him.

Posted by: gilbertbp | February 28, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, the sky is falling, Harper went down swinging two times! Give him a break,he is only 18 years old.

Posted by: bringbackimus | February 28, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Are the reports true that Harper hurt his arm swinging and missing and may need Tommy John?

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | February 28, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Morse could bat .1000 in ST and he aint cracking the starting lineup come opening day.
Posted by: skins_fan_22
-----------------------------------
That would be about 100% correct. A .1000 batting average means he would get one hit in every 10 at-bats. And if this were the case, then I probably wouldn't let him start OD either.

Now if he were to hot 1.000 and not crack the OD lineup, then I'd have a beef with this organization.

Just a little levity today. Let's all not go half-cocked and anoint anyone as OD ready or a bust based on one ST game. I prefer to wait before I go fully-cocked ... Smile everyone.

Posted by: erocks33 | February 28, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Perc:
"the other appears to have more to learn than he and many others thought."

A ridiculous thing to say based on someone's first two at-bats against Major League pitching.

To Kilgore: Could you please explain how someone can strike-out on one pitch? lol

Posted by: dabagley | February 28, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

In my opinion, this was a great thing to happen to Harper. Unlike every other baseball player, he hasn't had much humbling. Hopefully, he'll realize he has a to learn, and embrace the opportunity in the minors.

Posted by: jamilrod | February 28, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

First game of spring training and it's get Nyjer out of DC!!!!(SHOCKING!!)Harper fans twice(give the kid time!) nothing, not one damn thing can be determined out of today's game.Some of the greatest player's in the history of the major league had forgetable start's May's and Ripken to name two, now clearly Morgan and Harper are not in those two HOF's category but can we just give them time.

Posted by: dargregmag | February 28, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Does this d0ucher still have his faux-hawk?

Maybe he struck out because he was too worried about playing some beer pong with his Alpha Gamma Beta buddies after the game.

Haha, seriously who had a faux-hawk? I mean other than this pretentious clown?

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 28, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Could anyone give me the list of players who have never struck out??
How pathetic is it when the trolls come out to say their pithy comments about a kid!! Such a sorry little group they are!
Fact: Everyone (including Harper) knows he will be in the minors this year!! If he had homered twice today, nothing would have changed!

Posted by: dkidwell61 | February 28, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Nyger was miserable last year. I know its only been one spring training game, but I would much rather have Werth, Bernadina, Morse and Ankiel in there anyday of the week

Posted by: bmmanion | February 28, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

trolls troll. it's what they do. feel free to ignore.

Posted by: stoat1 | February 28, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey Nats Fans, how about Bernadina and Morse stepping up today! Good Deal! Harper will be fine! LOL, probably blast the 'B' out of the ball tomorrow!

Go Nats!

Posted by: patsgrill4U | February 28, 2011 6:02 PM | Report abuse

To the point about Mantle both Mantle and Mays have famous stories about how they struggled when they reached the big leagues. Leo and Casey saw the greatness in each and helped both of them get through the adjustment period. Obviously, both went on to be incredible players.

I'm a Yankee fan but I really want to see Bryce blow the doors off the big leagues. There is nothing more exciting and fun in my opinion than to watch a young phenom make it big. It is all a crap shoot but if you watch his YouTube clips please tell me what player you have ever seen with faster bat speed?? Bryce is young despite his great talent and he just needs some time to adjust. I'm sure the Nats management will guide him accordingly. Best of luck to Bryce!!!

Posted by: etmerritt33hotmailcom | February 28, 2011 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Could anyone give me the list of players who have never struck out??

Posted by: dkidwell61
==========================================
Here's one:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/grahamo01.shtml

Posted by: gilbertbp | February 28, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Lord knows why fans are comparing Bryce "Frat-D0uchey faux-hawk" Harper with the likes of Mantle, Mays, Muhammad, or Bette Midler.

Dude's more overrated than The Beatles.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 28, 2011 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Natstown — mighty Harper has struck out.

Posted by: sdrappa | February 28, 2011 6:27 PM | Report abuse

"Perc:
"the other appears to have more to learn than he and many others thought."

A ridiculous thing to say based on someone's first two at-bats against Major League pitching."

@dabagley,

Dude the pundits and blogguh's who've seen him in person against the Nats MLB pitching all say he can't detect, can't adapt, can't adjust to breaking pitches. In other words he looks like JMax except he had problems with major league fastballs and movement.

Like JMax Harper needs to spend the requisite amount of time in the minors learning how to adjust to major league pitching just as they will learn to adjust to him and his hitting patterns. JMax wasn't given that opportunity because a certain Segway riding, leather "PANTS!" Joy riding, a??hole decided to advance from A+ ball in Potomac to the majors after barely arriving there ... it may have ruined Justin Maxwell's major league career.

Dude, Ted Williams spent 2.25 years in the minor leagues in the PCL which was then considered a cross between AA/AAA levels. HIs final year he totally demolished that league for his team in San Diego. That should be Harper's goal at this point: to get to AA ball and demolish the league and then continue the same in AAA so that they have to bring him up and plant him in the Nats outfield.

Posted by: periculum | February 28, 2011 6:31 PM | Report abuse

@Peric...OK, I'll disagree. In the late thirties & late forties the PCL was much closer to AAAA than to AA. There was actually some talk of making it a third ML.

Now for something off subject. I'm posting this mostly because I'm bitter that FTF /w T. Ham is no longer running. My comment (and feel free to come back to me) is that, while watching the Yankees game and semi-paying attention, it seemed to me that almost every pitcher under the age of 25 has had TJ surgery. It's almost as if clubs figure that if you haven't lost your year to TJ, you will.

This is disturbing.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | February 28, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

ow for something off subject. I'm posting this mostly because I'm bitter that FTF /w T. Ham is no longer running.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | February 28, 2011 6:59 PM
=======

If this is true then there cannot be better news. Maybe now The Post can have people on their chats who deserve it more, like Steven Goff.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 28, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Morse is great news! He's picking up where he left off last year.

Posted by: longbow1 | February 28, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

N-Y-JJJJJJJJJJJJaaaayyyyy-E-R.
J.
JAY.
Juliett.

PFP for blogs. Mandatory.

Posted by: Section3mysofa | February 28, 2011 8:00 PM | Report abuse

I was with you there, Sec3.

Man, if I see that particular "typo" misspelling of Nyjer Morgan's name one more freakin' time, I'm going to underground hacker school in Sweden just to learn how to get into the Post's web-site and track down the cowards who type racist stuff under the guise of typos.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 1, 2011 1:15 AM | Report abuse

stevie, sometimes a typo is just a typo. Seriously.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 1, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Oh, wait. I see now. It's kinda like when the guys who call Debbi Taylor an airhead spell it "Debby." That means they're sexist because they're using the guise of a typo to insert a "Y" as in a "Y" chromosome, right? Hmmm...that, or they aren't detail people and have a tendency to misspell names. Yeah. I think I'm going with door number two until proven otherwise.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 1, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

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