Harper: 'I'm just glad I don't have to pay the thousand dollars'
Bryce Harper won't face any additional punishment for his actions Sunday that resulted in his ejection from the Nationals' series finale in Pittsburgh.
Major League Baseball informed Harper he won't be fined or suspended after a review of the incident, a relief to the 20-year-old slugger.
"It's great," he said. "I'm glad I don't have to pay the $1,000. That's another $1,000 in my pocket, so that's good. That's Major League Baseball's decision, and I respect that, definitely. And if I was to get fined, I would have respected that, too."
Harper's actions — he raised his arms and bat out after third base umpire John Hirschbeck called him for a check swing to end the top of the first inning, then tossed his bat and helmet aside, prompting Hirschbeck to eject him — weren't particularly out of the ordinary and wouldn't normally be subject to additional punishment from MLB.
If anything, Hirschbeck came under more scrutiny for his quick and animated reaction to Harper. The veteran umpire immediately mimicked Harper's arms-out motion and then started walking toward him before ultimately ejecting him because, in Hirschbeck's words, Harper "slammed" his bat and helmet to the ground.
While the rest of the baseball world spent Monday rehashing and debating the incident, Harper stayed completely out of the fray.
"I didn't even watch TV or anything," he said. "I didn't really follow up on that or care. It was something that happened and something that was in the past. It's just a little step that I've got to step over and start playing ball again."
Sunday's ejection, combined with Monday's off-day and Tuesday's rainout gave Harper three full days to rest his bruised left side. He admitted the injury — suffered last week when he crashed into the right-field fence in Atlanta — may have hampered his swing over the weekend but said he's feeling better now.
"I tried to play through it as best as I could," he said. "I try to be in that lineup every day. That's the goal. Even if I'm feeling bad, I'm trying to stay in that lineup. ... I'm not going to make any excuses because my side hurts. I'm still going to go up there and try to do well and square things up and try to do the best I can for my team."