Bryce Harper, who was out of the lineup Sunday for the third time in 18 games, sounded upbeat Monday during an appearance on MLB Network Radio’s “Power Alley” with Holden Kushner and
Dan Jim Duquette. If Harper is frustrated by his individual performance, it’s been offset by the team’s 17-11 record since his return from the disabled list.
“I feel good,” said Harper, who was at Anacostia High to surprise the baseball and football teams with a renovated locker room in partnership with Gatorade. “I think the biggest thing, man, we’re winning. That’s all I care about. Everything I always say is, I hope we win. That’s all I care. You guys know that, I think everybody knows that, and I just want to get to that next level, get into the playoffs and really try to enjoy it. We’ve got about a month-and-a-half left and we gotta play our tails off to hopefully stay [ahead in] the East and get back to where we were in 2012. We’ve got a great clubhouse, a great group of guys that are all pulling on the same rope and doing things the right way. We enjoy going in every single day and playing as a team.”
Harper was asked about Denard Span’s recent hot streak and Anthony Rendon’s continued production.
“Span’s been unbelievable all year,” said Harper, who ruffled some feathers with his comments about the ideal Nationals lineup (one without Span) in June. “He’s on his 28-, 29-game [on-base streak]. …Rendon’s been incredible, I think everybody knows that — all-star third baseman definitely, or should’ve been. He battles every single day, he works hard, and you can see that in his swing. He’s got one of the best swings in all of baseball, it’s a lot of fun to watch and he’s just getting better every day and Span’s the same way. Everybody’s getting better and our pitching has been unbelievable. That’s one thing that people have overlooked this year. Our bullpen has been unreal; Storen has been great. Clippard, Soriano, Strasburg. There’s so many guys that have thrown the ball great this year and it’s a lot of fun to watch.”
Doug Fister is among that group of guys, too.
“I love Fister,” Harper said. “He’s unbelievable. I don’t think there’s one guy that could not like Fister in all of major league baseball. That guy works his tail off and his record shows for it. He’s all upbeat, ready to go every single day. He’s running all over the place, he’s trying to get bunts, he’s trying to get foul balls that are 20 rows deep and it’s just a lot of fun to watch. He’s got that high-pace, high mentality of working hard and going after things that he wants. He’s been great for us all year.”
Harper said he wasn’t sure what the Nationals were going to do at the trade deadline, but he was happy to see the team add a veteran in Asdrubal Cabrera.
“I’d heard rumors of getting a guy in the bullpen, or trying to get somebody that could replace Zimm for a minute since he got hurt,” Harper said. “But I knew that our team was great where we were, and we just added another great player. Asdrubal Cabrera is defining himself as one of the best middle infielders in the game and he’s been unbelievable for us the past couple of nights. It’s exciting to be able to add to our team with a great player like that that’s a big leaguer. He’s been in the big leagues and he’s done things. We didn’t need a prospect. We needed a big leaguer at that time and that’s what we got.”
Speaking of Cabrera, he made a big league play in Sunday’s win over the Phillies.