Harper pulled from game and Nationals lose 4 - 3
According to the Washington Times just 18 games into the Nationals 2014 season, rookie managerMatt Williamshas made his first big statement as skipper.
Bryce Harperwas benched before the beginning of the seventh inning in the Nationals 4-3 loss to the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon.Williamssaid it was because he failed to hustle out a groundball while running to first.
While Williams made his point he might have cost his team a win in the end.
ThoughHarperhas been dealing with quad tightness,Williamssaid the decision had nothing to do with his injury.
No, lack of hustle. Thats why he came out of the game,Williamsclarified. The inability to run 90 feet.
We made an agreement. He and I made an agreement, this team made an agreement, that when you play the game that we hustle at all times, that we play the game with intensity and a willingness to win.
The play happened in the bottom of the sixth inning on a groundout to pitcher Lance Lynn.Harperhit a slow grounder to Lynn, and slowly jogged to first before turning towards the dugout as first basemanMatt Adamscaught the throw.
Harperspoke shortly with media after the game and said he understoodWilliams decision.
I respect what he did, its part of the game.MORE...
Williamsexplained the move further with a reference to the newly enforced transfer rule. This year players have to not only make a catch, but transfer the ball successfully before throwing it tosecurean out.
The other side is that, regardless of how the ball comes off the bat, or regardless of how hes feeling about an at-bat, he must maintain that intensity and that aggressiveness. That means running all the way to first base and touching first base. Theres a million reasons why. The transfer rules that weve seen lately, what if that guy bobbles the ball as hes throwing it around? If he doesnt touch the base, hes out. If he veers to the dugout, hes automatically out. Beyond all the just run 90 feet stuff, theres a real, tangible rule behind it now. We must do that. He understands that.