What was a whirlwind of a rookie year for Bryce Harper seemed to carry over into his offseason as the 20-year-old has been quite busy this winter. Harper has been active tweeting pictures of his travels, campaigning for the cover of a video game, and even appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live. With just weeks to go until Spring Training, Harper is now just looking forward to entering his first big league camp with a set role in the starting lineup.
“When I go into Spring Training I’m going to work my tail off, work out in the weight room, and get things done. I’m going to try and get ready for the season,” he said.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun to get back going and try to get back to where we were last year.”
Harper said he didn’t watch any of the baseball playoffs after the Nationals were bounced in Game 5 of the National League Division Series. He didn’t even watch the World Series.
Months after the ending of last season had settled, Harper was invited to compete in the World Baseball Classic, but declined. He wants to take the next few weeks to relax before starting the long 162-game schedule.
“I think it’s just too serious of at-bats for me right now,” he said. “Coming off the year that we had, I just want to get back into the swing of things in Spring Training. It’s the first Spring Training I can really be up with the big league club and I think hopefully in four years I can do the WBC then.”
Harper has kept up with baseball news over the last few months and has nothing but good things to say about the Nationals’ moves. Adding Denard Span will take him out of center field and will give the batting lineup a different look as well.
“We got a really special player in Denard of course, he’s going to be great for us in center field and at the top of the lineup for us. He’s got some speed and he gets on base a lot. He will be good for our whole lineup,” he said.
“And Soriano deepens our bullpen even more. Our bullpen’s really good and our starting pitching is great so to get him is pretty unbelievable. Also, signing back LaRoche, that was a huge thing that I thought we should have done.”
This will be Harper’s third Spring Training with the Nationals, but this is the first camp he heads to Viera knowing he won’t be going to the minors shortly thereafter. The main objectives regarding him will be where he plays in the outfield and where he hits in the lineup. As far as the batting order goes, Harper has made his preference clear.
“We had a great lineup last year and I think the only thing coming in is Denard so hopefully I can stay in that two-spot,” he said.