AKRON, Ohio — Bryce Harper looked like himself in his first Class AA rehab start with the Harrisburg Senators, helmet flip and all.
Harper, wearing No. 7, hit third and played seven innings in right field, going 1 for 3 at the plate with a double, walk and a run scored in a 6-4 loss.
“He said he felt great,” Senators Manager Brian Daubach said. “I asked him during [batting practice] and during the game a couple times and everything feels good.”
Harper started his second at-bat in the third inning by fouling off a fastball on the first pitch he saw. He then took another fastball to even the count at 1-1 before smoking a line drive into the right field corner, flipping his own helmet off his head while aggressively rounding second. Harper, wearing a black protective cast that resembled an oven mitt while running the bases to protect his injured left thumb, slipped and fell when he had to slow down after receiving a stop sign to stay at third.
Harper was typically aggressive most of the night. In his first at-bat, Harper took a hard swing through a 91-mph fastball, eliciting some noise from the crowd at Canal Park. He then took a breaking ball down the middle for a strike to fall behind 0-2 before working the count full. Harper then took another 91-mph pitch that caught the outside corner for a strikeout.
In his third at-bat, just like the first two, Harper took a big swing at the first pitch, fouling this one off. A breaking ball in the dirt evened the count at 1-1 before Harper popped out to shortstop.
“He’s always going to be aggressive,” Daubach said. “That’s the kind of player he is.”
Harper showed more patience in his fourth and final at-bat, walking on four pitches.
Harper didn’t get much action in the field, only when former big leaguer Bryan LaHair singled to right in the third inning. Harper exited the game as scheduled in the seventh inning, replaced by Quincy Latimore.
Bryan Harper, Bryce’s older brother and a left-handed pitcher for the Senators, did not appear in the game. Both Harpers declined to speak to the media.