Slumping Nationals rookie Harper plays volleyball with high school kids
Washington, United States (4E Sports) – Washington Nationals rookie Bryce Harper has found a way to keep his mind off his hitting slump, playing volleyball against high school players during a baseball clinic.
Harper was supposed to lead a baseball clinic at Fairfax High Thursday but he ended up playing against the school’s varsity players, led by Radford commit Megan McKenzie.
McKenzie and several other players took to Twitter to announce Harper’s appearance during practice.
“We just played volleyball with Bryce Harper,” McKenzie noted on Twitter.
“Played volleyball with Bryce Harper, no big deal,” another player wrote while another twitted “He isn’t good, for the record”.
During baseball camp, Harper encouraged participants to strive hard to win the championship.
“You want to win every single game. You don’t want to be one game away from the championship and you lose, and oh it’s ok. No it’s not. I’m sorry. I want to win every single game. I want to win that championship,” Harper said.
The 19-year-old Harper was the hottest thing in baseball since he was promoted in April as the youngest major leaguer in seven years.
Before the All-Star break, Harper had led the NL East with a .283 batting average to go with eight home runs and 25 RBIs and looked headed to become the NL’s runaway Rookie of the Year winner.
After that, Harper is hitting just .176 (12-for-70) with two homers, seven RBIs and 32 strikeouts in 26 games, dropping his batting average for the season to .251.
Harper’s slugging percentage also dropped from .472 before the All-Star break to .226 this month.
“I’m all over the place right now,” Harper admitted to the Washington Post. “So I’m trying to find some mellowness at the plate and in the box. Just trying to work at it everyday and try to take something good from every at-bat and take something good from every game.”
Harper said he is not frustrated with his recent poor play. “I haven’t been frustrated all year. The only thing I’m frustrated about is the other 24 guys I let down,” he said.
Despite Harper’s dismal performance, the Washington Nationals (73-45) still own the best record in the majors and lead the NL East by four games over the Atlanta Braves.