(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The hullabaloo over Bryce Harper’s weight-gain comment caught me by surprise. I mean, an athlete in his prime wanting to bulk up a few pounds isn’t such a big deal. It looks like the reaction also surprised Harper himself, and he responded during a call with MLB’s “Hot Stove.”

“It was kinda crazy that everyone was going a little berserk about me putting on weight,” he said. “I was 235 coming in last year and it’s not sloppy weight. I’m not fat. I mean, I look pretty good. I don’t wanna say that, but I’m not gonna lie. It’s not like I’m out eating McDonald’s and Del Taco every night. I eat good, my mom fixes dinner every single night – baked chicken, fish – she cooks a great meal every single night. I’m working out hard and I’m eating right and I’m gaining weight. I think it’s pretty good.”

It’s good to be Bryce Harper.

It might be a while before an extended interview with Harper doesn’t include a mention of his run-in with the wall in Los Angeles. The obligatory comment came pretty early into this chat when Bill Ripken suggested he was putting on weight to match up better with the wall.

“Ha, that’s so funny,” Harper said, sarcastically. “That’s hilarious.”

“I mean, yeah, it’d be nice not to run into a wall again,” he continued. “That’s something that I don’t like doing. But I’m going to play the game hard like I always do and see what happens. I’m going to be a little bit smarter in certain situations, and I got a lot of guys on my team that help me out with that. J. Dub reminded me about 20 times last year after I hit the wall, don’t do it again.”

Harper also admitted that the injury he suffered from that collision was more severe than most people realized.

“It was a lot worse than a lot of people thought,” he said. “He went in and really saw that it was pretty bad. But he fixed it and I’ve been feeling great. I’m pain-free when I hit and that’s the biggest thing. I’m pain-free when I run and bike, and it’s a lot of fun to be able to hit and play pain-free.”

(video via Nats Enquirer)