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Bryce Harper admits he is hesitant in outfield after collision

May 22, 2013|By Chuck Schilken
  • Washington right fielder Bryce Harper appears to flinch in mid-air well before reaching the outfield wall.
Washington right fielder Bryce Harper appears to flinch in mid-air well… (Screenshot from mlb.com )

Maybe Bryce Harper really doesn't understand the concept of a warning track.

Eight days after he completely ignored the dirt that's supposed to alert outfielders of the looming wall and ended up in the hospital, the Washington Nationals star acted in the complete opposite manner against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday and cost his team a chance to win the game.

With the Giants trailing, 2-1, and down to their final strike, Gregor Blanco sent a high-line drive into right field. While running to make the catch, Harper jumped for the ball but appeared to flinch in mid-air -- all well before even reaching the warning track.

The ball dropped in for a game-tying triple, and the Giants went on to win the game, 4-2, in the 10th. Harper later blamed himself for the loss and acknowledged his crash into the wall last week at Dodger Stadium -- which resulted in 11 stitches -- had a lot to do with his hesitancy on the play.

“I don’t want to hit the frickin’ wall full-on,” Harper said. “Of course that crosses your mind after you jam into a wall. It doesn’t really feel very good.... I totally put that loss on me.”

It's hard to hear that kind of talk from a young player with Harper's talent, especially after reading this tweet he sent out the day after his collision with the wall last week:

No doubt he meant it and still believes it -- he's just got to figure out a way to know when a wall is sneaking up on him. Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis, who hit the triple that resulted in Harper's hospital trip, made this tongue-in-cheek observation while watching a clip of Harper's crash on MLB Network’s "Intentional Talk" on Tuesday:

"They need to put some kind of dirt object out here, don’t you think, so they know where the wall is, to maybe ‘warn’ the player that there’s possibly a fence there. That’s a good idea for future grounds crews.”

A warning track, eh? What a concept.

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