We don’t do a post every time a player launches their first major league home run, but Bryce Harper is not your regular rookie.
Harper connected for his first career home run in the bottom of the third inning tonight as part of an 8-5 win over the Padres. It was a long solo blast off right-hander Tim Stauffer which landed on the grassy batter’s eye in straight-away center field at Nationals Park.
The 19-year-old outfielder sprinted around the bases before being congratulated by teammates and coaches in the dugout, but he eventually came out to give a curtain call to the Nationals’ faithful. We may soon find out if the Padres have a designated enforcer of “old school” on their pitching staff.
Harper hit the home run in his 54th at-bat in the big leagues. If things play out like the Nationals hope, this is just the beginning of him terrorizing major league pitching.
Update (8:40 PM ET): Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Hunter’s contract with the Phillies is for two years.
There’s been a bit of confusion at the Winter Meetings. First, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Phillies were close to signing free agent reliever Addison Reed. That report was then disputed by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer then reported that not only do the Phillies not have a deal with Reed, they’re actually moving in on a deal with free agent pitcher Tommy Hunter. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic backed up Gelb’s report, as did Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.
Hunter, 31, spent the past season with the Rays, posting a 2.61 ERA with a 64/14 K/BB ratio across 58 2/3 innings. The right-hander, a veteran of 10 seasons in the majors, should be a good addition to the Phillies’ bullpen, which also recently added Pat Neshek. Neshek and Hunter will likely work the innings just ahead of closer Hector Neris.
As for Reed, well, who knows.