Dodgers great Steve Garvey, left, speaks with Washington Nationals outfielder… (Harry How / Getty Images )
Watching Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper take batting practice at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, Steve Garvey said he always knew the kid would make it here.
“If you like Josh Hamilton, you’ll really like Bryce Harper, in terms on athletic ability and power,” Garvey said.
Garvey, the former Dodgers first baseman, is a longtime friend of the 19-year-old Harper.
Garvey coached Harper when he was 15 on a Palm Desert-based travel ball team. Garvey’s son, Ryan Garvey, was also on the team.
The team name?
“He’s been on the Dodgers before,” Garvey said.
Garvey recalled a game in which Harper caught, played right field and entered the game in the sixth inning as a reliever.
“He was touching 94,” Garvey said.
The Garveys have since kept in touch with Harper.
When Harper visited Dodger Stadium on the day he was taken with the first pick of the 2010 draft, he spent some time with the Garveys.
As Garvey talked about the left-handed-hitting Harper, he saw him drive a ball to left field.
“He’s got raw power this way,” Garvey said, gesturing toward left field. “That’s the real sign.”
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