Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams made an example out of star outfielder Bryce Harper during Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Harper was benched prior to the seventh inning for “lack of hustle,” Williams told reporters after the game. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Harper hit a routine groundball back to pitcher Lance Lynn, who fielded the ball cleanly and with plenty of time. Knowing there was no chance he could leg it out, Harper slowly jogged to first base before tapering off toward the dugout.
It was widely assumed that Harper was pulled because of the quad tightness he has been battling in the last week, but Williams made it clear that his injury had nothing to do with the benching. The manager told reporters the reason was Harper’s “inability to run 90 feet.”
Harper, who typically plays the game extremely hard, said after the game that he understood Williams’ decision.
“I respect what he did, it’s part of the game.”
GIF via Eye On Baseball