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Posted at 5:00 PM ET, 03/ 5/2011

Bryce Harper not big on pre-game fraternization

By Dave Sheinin

Bryce Harper, the Nationals' heralded right field prospect, had perhaps his best game of the spring Saturday in the Nationals' 10-8 win over the New York Yankees at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.

Harper went 1 for 2 at the plate and collected his first RBI of the spring -- stroking a hard single to right off Yankees right-hander Daniel Turpen, then aggressively taking second base when the ball was bobbled in the outfield. He also started a perfectly executed 9-6-5 relay to nail Austin Romine at third base trying to stretch a double into a triple.

"It takes awhile," Harper said of his growing comfort at the plate. "They say it takes 30 or 40 at-bats to get ready. If can get 30 at bats [this spring], I'd be great. I feel really good up there right now."

Perhaps just as impressively, Harper held his own against a small contingent of New York media members -- including Keith Olbermann -- who visited his locker after the game to see whether Harper's childhood love of the Yankees translated into some star-struck moments in his first game against them. But Harper shot that notion down quickly, saying he was all business and had no interest in meeting anyone in the pinstripes.

"I never say hi to anybody [on the other team]. I just stay over here," Harper said. "... I'm trying to beat them. That's what I am. If we're off the field, I'll go over and say hello. You can be my best friend, and I'll hate you on the baseball field. That's how I am. If you're my best friend, playing shortstop, I'll still take you out. That's how I am."

Though Manager Jim Riggleman praised Harper's awareness of the strike zone, Harper politely disagreed, saying, "I think my strike zone is pretty bad right now, actually.... I feel like I need to learn the major league strike zone a little better than I do right now."

By Dave Sheinin  | March 5, 2011; 5:00 PM ET
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Next: Jeff Frazier takes CC Sabathia deep


More and more im beginning to like this kid Harper.

Posted by: Nats1924 | March 5, 2011 8:05 PM | Report abuse

"I never say hi to anybody [on the other team]. I just stay over here," Harper said. "... I'm trying to beat them."
Sounds like Bob Gibson.

Posted by: gilbertbp | March 5, 2011 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Vince Lombardi would be SO proud! Way to play the game.

Posted by: Bowler300 | March 5, 2011 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Thsnk goodness there was something good about suffering through 100 losses.

Go, Harper!

Posted by: nats24 | March 5, 2011 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Somewhere in heaven (?) Ty Cobb is smiling.

Posted by: logan9 | March 6, 2011 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Trust me, Ty Cobb is not in heaven.

Posted by: truke | March 6, 2011 7:28 AM | Report abuse

This could be a huge mistake and I might be opening something up, but I just had to comment on the quality of the last few posts from Mr. Sheinin. I like Adam's work and appreciate all he does but there is an obvious jump in quality in my opinion. I guess the big thing is that Adam gets a few days off but we fans keep getting great insight, Thanks to both of you and again, Adam, this is not a criticism of your work but more a praise for Dave. Thank you both!

Go Nats!

Posted by: sjm3091 | March 6, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Bob Gibson and, dare I say, Pete Rose? Loved his comment on knowledge of the strike zone.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | March 6, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Harper, though, is big on post-game "fraternization."

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | March 6, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

That quote was almost as good as seeing Frank Robinson confront Mike Sciocia a few years ago. We need more of that in DC. Way to go 'kid'

Posted by: REDSKINRAYINCA | March 6, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

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