Bryce Harper wants to play smarter this year

January 27, 2014

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Last year, when Bryce Harper was clearly dealing with some severe after-effects of his collision with an outfield wall, there were numerous reports of  disagreements between Harper and Davey Johnson over how to handle the player’s recovery: this one and this one, for instance. It became clear very quickly that Harper wasn’t going to sit quietly.

During a conversation with Grant and Danny of 106.7 The Fan during NatsFest, Harper admitted he probably should have put up less of a fight.

“I might be a little bit smarter next year,” Harper said. “We were 18 games out. I shouldn’t even have been on the field, probably. But that’s the type of player I am. I’m going to go out there and give it all I can, and I’m gonna play every day like it’s my last. That’s what these fans expect; that’s what baseball expects; and that’s what I wanna do.”

Good luck to Matt Williams should he ever decide to give Harper a rest.

Harper is far enough away from the incident that he’s willing to joke about it.

“About 1900s, early 19, Babe Ruth ran into the wall in D.C. and knocked himself out,” he said. “I’m in pretty good company there. So if I can be like Babe Ruth, I think I got everything going for me.”

It was 1924, and Ruth knocked himself out after running into the wall at Griffith Stadium in D.C. (Deadspin has some more on that.)

“I don’t want to run into another wall,” Harper continued. “That killed me for the whole season. Having 15 stitches and having my knee all messed up and things like that, I don’t wanna do. I might go out to right field or left field with catcher’s gear on. I’ll see what I can do this year and try to get better out there. Take better routes the best I can and hopefully be a little bit smarter against the wall and get a little bit better.”

All of the “getting better” Harper talks about is all for one specific goal — or six, if you will.

“My main goal is, even if I’m one of the worst players in history, if I have six rings I don’t really care,” said Harper. “I want rings and that’s what I wanna do. So I’m going to work my tail off to bring titles back here and see where we’re at.”

 

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