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Bryce Harper pulled from Saturday’s game for not hustling

Apr 19, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

Well, this is interesting.

When Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper left this afternoon’s game against the Cardinals after six innings, many assumed that he might have aggravated his recent left quad injury. Nope, it was actually because he didn’t run out a ground ball.

It should be said that the play in question was a simple comebacker to the pitcher, so there’s no way he would have been safe even if he busted it up the line. And for a guy who is coming back from a quad injury, there was little reason to needlessly push it on such a routine play. This might even be the safe way to go about things for someone who has been called too aggressive in the past. Alas, Williams thought otherwise.

For what it’s worth, Harper told Andrew Simon of MLB.com after the game that he “respected” what Williams did. But what else is he supposed to say?

Harper’s spot in the order actually came up in the bottom of the ninth inning against Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal, but the Nationals were forced to use Kevin Frandsen with the tying runs on second and third base. Frandsen drove in a run with a ground out, but one wonders how things would have turned out if Williams didn’t have such a quick hook. It might have cost them a chance at a victory.

  1. nceaglesfan - Apr 19, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    When the kid actually accomplishes some thing, let me know…..

    • paperlions - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:03 PM

      He’s 21 and already had a better MLB career than most professional baseball players.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:30 PM

        I would rebut that – except that you yourself don’t even believe it…..

        But for the sake of argument (in case you feel like arguing), 278 hits, 43 HR’s and 122RBI’s is a career?

      • andrewproughcfe - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:59 PM

        Wonder what the Nats are going to do about his extension? He’s nothing special, but he’s going to want a monster contract because people treat him like a star.

      • clydeserra - Apr 20, 2014 at 12:12 AM

        @deleware, you saw the part in the comment that he was 21. He is not retiring anytime soon.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 20, 2014 at 7:19 AM

        @Clyde what I saw was that at 21 he has already had a better career than most players. I never disputed his potential, just the comment that was made.

      • rhandome - Apr 20, 2014 at 8:56 AM

        @andrew So having two of the best seasons EVER by a 20-21 year is nothing special? Try googling “baseball aging curve,” you might learn something.

      • Mr. Chickadee - Apr 23, 2014 at 12:26 PM

        @Delaware–You do realize that most professional ball players never MAKE the majors, right?

  2. greymares - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    If you act like a little league player you should be treated as one. Earn your money and do your job,running out ground balls is your job.

    • clydeserra - Apr 20, 2014 at 12:13 AM

      so, a franchise player recovering from a leg injury should rik further injury on a ball that he knows is an out?

      that is just dumb.

      • greymares - Apr 20, 2014 at 7:17 AM

        Your not a franchise player if you cant hustle,If your hurt stay on the bench.

      • clydeserra - Apr 20, 2014 at 11:51 AM

        “you’re”

        if you have ever watched bryce harper play, you would know that hustle is a big part of his game

      • anxovies - Apr 20, 2014 at 7:46 AM

        Every player should run out every hit because occasionally somebody drops the ball or makes a bad throw. If you are playing the game just hard enough to avoid getting hurt, try croquet.

      • clydeserra - Apr 20, 2014 at 11:52 AM

        please don’t become the manager of my team.

  3. schmedley69 - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:42 PM

    Williams said that if happens again he’s sending Bryce to his room without dinner and taking away is XBOX privileges.

  4. DelawarePhilliesFan - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    Worst comments ever. No one said “gritty” or quoted the Bull Durham “lollygag” scene

    Oh….and this episode will be forgotten by Monday

  5. stercuilus65 - Apr 19, 2014 at 9:58 PM

    It should be said that the play in question was a simple comebacker to the pitcher, so there’s no way he would have been safe even if he busted it up the line. And for a guy who is coming back from a quad injury, there was little reason to needlessly push it on such a routine play. This might even be the safe way to go about things for someone who has been called too aggressive in the past. Alas, Williams thought otherwise.”

    Wow DJ can you breathe up thete with your head so far up Harper’s butt? I’m sure you wouldn’t be making excuses if it was Puig that didn’t hustle!

  6. 13arod - Apr 19, 2014 at 11:15 PM

    this is stupid he is playing threw an injury and u expect him to go 100% down the line on a simple comebacker to the pitcher

  7. onbucky96 - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:32 AM

    Send him to Milwaukee. We will attempt to salvage his career. You can keep Scott Boras.

  8. greymares - Apr 20, 2014 at 7:23 AM

    Even when you suck if you hustle nobody can tell you, YOU SUCK.

  9. mindenjim - Apr 20, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    Bryce Harper is going to a really, really good ball player for a long time. He’s going to be a better ball player because Williams is still coaching him, the pitcher loses his grip, yanks the throw or just air mails the ball and Harper is in scoring position. You don’t win in baseball by expecting the other team to be perfect.

  10. believeland1954 - Apr 20, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    A lot of Harper apologists out there.

  11. jpat2424 - Apr 20, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    Can you people makeup any more excuses for Harper. Jesus

  12. twinfan24 - Apr 20, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    Williams is certainly within his rights to pull Harper. And, if there have been other issues with Harper for either hustle or anything else that was bugging Williams, then it makes sense. Otherwise, could this have been handled with a meeting later and/or a quick conversation in the dugout? If Harper needed the message, then it was the right move. If this was just Williams trying to establish that he is the boss, then it might have been handled differently so as not to punish the rest of the team.
    For what it is worth, Harper has publicly handled this exactly how you would hope he would. For all of the early issues with Harper when it comes to attitude, he has at least publicly become a model citizen.

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