By Adam Kilgore
Wednesday, March 9, 2011; 6:47 PM
Bryce Harper's debut, when he struck out twice on seven pitches, is feeling more and more like an insignificant memory. Harper laced an RBI single during today's 8-4 Nationals win over the Marlins in his only at-bat, which raised his spring training batting average to .357. Fourteen spring at-bat does not mean much for most players. For an 18-year-old to notch five hits in that span against major league, it seems rather telling.
In his 10 games with major leaguers, Harper has clearly become comfortable. He has four hits in his last five at-bats dating back to the weekend, with four RBIs during that span. Harper could be included Saturday when the Nationals make their next round of cuts, but he's making an impression while he's here.
"I feel really good up there," Harper said. "I feel really confident in myself. There's guys who are going to come after you. I want to hit right now. I'm feeling hitterish. I'm trying to go up there and get some hacks in. I'm not going to be here for a long time. I want to try to go up there and get my hits in."
Yeah, he really did say "hitterish." So now we have to add one more word to the Bryce Harper Dictionary, just ahead of "oppo boppo" and "rinky dinks." And what, exactly, would the definition be?
"You wake up in the morning, and you're feeling hitterish, you're going to get a hit that day," Harper said. "That's what it is. If you get a hit every day, you're feeling hitterish, for sure. Wake and rake."
Harper, surely, is here to rake. He's taken more than his fair share of swings; today's hit, a single to right off Brian Sanches that knocked in Chris Marrero, came on the first pitch he saw, a changeup.
"It was up, so I swung," Harper said. "Anything that looks good to me, I'm going to swing at it.
"I don't know about free-swinger. I'm not going to swing at every single pitcher when I go up there. If it's away or if it's off, I'm not going to swing at it. I know the strike zone pretty well. But if it's there anywhere close, they're going to be there. So if you need to jump on a first-pitch changeup, fastball, curveball, then I'm going to."