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Harper debuts new batting stance

Jul 19, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

In his first game back from the 2014 All-Star break, much was anew for Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper.

He had a new haircut that featured a mohawk in the back. He had a new saxophone-heavy walk-up song. And most notably, he debuted a brand new batting stance.

Instead of bending his knees, holding his hands above his chest and pointing his bat forward at a 45 degree angle, this time he was upright, standing tall with his bat aiming straight to the sky.

Some said it looked like Steve Lombardozzi’s stance, some (me) saw some Ken Griffey, Jr. in it. Whatever it was, it worked.

Harper returned from the break to go 3-for-4 with a solo home run in the Nationals’ 4-2 loss to the Brewers on Friday night. Though he didn’t contribute to a win, there may be something in this new stance of his.

“I just tried to do something a little different. Felt good. Just relax a little bit,” he said.

Harper plans to keep using the new stance, for now at least.

“I don’t know. I just felt really comfortable. That’s the main thing. I think going forward just trying to have some fun and just relax a little bit.”

Manager Matt Williams noted Harper’s new stance after the loss.

“I think he’s stood up a touch more to get on top of the baseball. Lowered his hands a little bit, probably more direct to the ball. He worked on that over the break. Looked good up there tonight. Hit the ball hard tonight.”

Harper’s home run came in the bottom of the ninth with no outs as the Nationals were unable to complete a comeback against Francisco Rodriguez and the Brewers. It was his third home run of the season and gave him just his 12th RBI of the year.

Heading into Friday night Harper was just 6-for-40 in 12 games since returning from the disabled list on June 30. Harper and the Nationals hope a three-hit night will help him turn the corner.

“That’s a good sign,” Williams said.

  1. David Proctor - Jul 19, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Harper is 4 for his last 8 with 2 homers. For what that’s worth.

    • Sonny G 10 - Jul 19, 2014 at 11:30 AM

      Worth a lot I’d say!

  2. Doc - Jul 19, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    Stack & Jack—go for it Bryce!

  3. NatsLady - Jul 19, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    Philly looks really bad. Maybe they will win today (Colbert vs Harang) if Colbert brings his “A” game and Harang turns back into Harang–which we keep waiting for. Otherwise, I would not be surprised to see the Barves sweep. So we could end the weekend two games back (even three if we get swept). The point is, not to panic. Their schedule toughens up BY A LOT in August.

    Last year Cleveland went on an amazing run because of the sub-Arctic teams they played against in August and September. We need to wipe out the weak teams. The Rockies and Reds have a lot of injuries to key players and pitchers. Miami is showing that they don’t have depth. Then we have a four-set against Philly. Even if we lose the series to the Brewers, the team has the opportunity to go on a sustained two-week run. DO IT! Meanwhile, Roark is a good pitcher and Gio is Gio. On a good day, Gio could be the one for a shutout. Man, I would love see that on Sunday.

    • David Proctor - Jul 19, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      The Phils have hit Harang hard every time they’ve faced him so far

    • Nats fool - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      Looking at a schedule can be deceiving. It’s more about whether the team is hot when you play them. We have been good about turning hot teams cold. That is an indication of talent. We’ve also let cold teams win, which is more an indication of inconsistent offense. Will we express our talent or be plagued by inconsistent run production? The answer to this question will determine our season.

  4. laddieblahblah - Jul 19, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    Every time I’ve checked on the Chiefs lately, they have been playing Walters at 2nd base. He is still striking out way too much, but he still has about a .350 OBP – not bad. He hits better from the right side, but is also solid from the left side.

    If he is playing solid defense at 2nd base, he could be the solution to the middle infield problem, assuming Zim goes to 1st and Rendon back to 3rd, next year, or if Zim has to go back on the DL.

    Some months ago Jack pointed out that Walters looked pretty good at 2nd. Must have been so, because he’s still there.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 19, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      Laddie, just as we discussed in Spring Training. 2nd or LF are worth the try.

  5. David Proctor - Jul 19, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    Talking about the need for some left-handed thump…how about Adam Dunn? This is the last year of his deal so there’s no commitment. he’d be used solely off the bench so we wouldn’t have to worry about his defense. His OPS is .798.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 19, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      The question would be can Dunn play from the bench and pinch hit since the Nats are NL. It’s an expensive risk.

      BTW, Dunn has never played in the postseason.

      • David Proctor - Jul 19, 2014 at 2:51 PM

        He’s due 6.3M the rest of this year. I wouldn’t pay him that. But if you could get the White Sox to eat half of it, I’d consider it a decent risk for $3M. Maybe DHing has prepared him to PH

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 19, 2014 at 2:56 PM

        Would they take Hairston in return? In all seriousness, the Chisox will want a true prospect for him and the Angels would be a fit.

  6. scmargenau - Jul 19, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    Off topic: anyone know best time/way to get kids in and see batting practice or get autographs?

  7. BurnedOnce - Jul 19, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    No mention of Harper’s shiny shoes with the gold-plated bottoms. Shiny as chrome when he runs. Last night my wife pointed them out as she looked up from her scorebook. The toes sparkle in a way that the folks in my row thought they might have lights in them like kids shoes. My wife and I both said “now you gotta earn them.” For the most part he did, but I’m surprised I haven’t seen any mention of them. Only a discussion of “the stance” when clearly it was “the shoes.”

  8. Another Tyler - Jul 19, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    Remember that Werth article a while back that had galaxies and all? And Werth said he was trying out a more Harper stance because Harper reminded him of a younger himself? And didn’t Werth just abandon that stance for his own stand-up stance? So maybe Harper is trying to bat like an older himself.

    I’m cool with that.

  9. Joe Seamhead - Jul 19, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    [Speaking of Werth, I pulled this over from the last thread. I posted it after this one started].

    I am seriously thinking that Jayson is afraid of hurting his wrist again. He didn’t get a great jump, but it sure appeared to me that he had plenty of time to come in and get that ball.He’s been pulling up short on those type of balls coming his way for the past year. He’s one of my favorite players, has always been a savvy right fielder, and it pains me to watch him moving so tentatively now. It’s time for him to move to left, but Bryce still doesn’t know how to play RF enough to excel at it. Management is going to have to deal with some tough decisions, and soon. Unfortunately, I think Span will ultimately be the odd man out.Speaking of Denard, he had a really nice catch at the deepest part of the wall last night. He made it look much more routine than it was.

    • knoxvillenat - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      I still think there is a good chance Werth moves to first base with Harper going to RF and Zimmerman to LF next season. This would have to be a spring training move I would think with the Nats keeping Span as the CF and not exercising the mutual option on ALR.

    • BurnedOnce - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      I think it’s a tweaked groin. He’s very slow and gingerly in the field. Not so much on the base paths.

      • Section 222 - Jul 19, 2014 at 2:05 PM

        Could be, but why would the groin bother him in the field and not on the basepaths?

  10. breakbad1 - Jul 19, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    My observation, based on 44 years in the workplace (okay, that includes a Washington Daily News route), is that co-workers affect one another profoundly.

    I have seen SO many cases where a person wasn’t living up to his or her potential on the job, and someone calls them aside and says, “Take a look at what you’re doing, and your results. Now take a look at some of the people around you, and what they are doing, and their results.” And they notice, and take action, and improve.

    After Harper’s disastrous and juvenile comments about the lineup, he did nothing at the plate while Zimm, Span, Desi, Werth, and ALR kept their mouth shut and their head down and produced for the team, night after night.

    (The sight of Harper trying to break that bat by crushing it over his thighs was just embarrassing. He looked like Burns trying to crush that paper cup on the Simpsons.)

    So I believe, based on his own observations, or by players/coaches taking him aside, or because of the advice of his family, that he has decided to tone down the idiot-maniac-bloody-forehead routine off the field, and calm himself on the field, while preserving the great drive within him.

    If this is what has happened, and I hope it is, then tremendous things await Harper and Nats fans.





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