Bryce Harper emulates Ichiro Suzuki for infield single

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Bryce Harper is highly-regarded for his elite power potential, but he took a page out of Ichiro Suzuki’s book in order to beat out an infield single last night against the Mets.

With junkballing left-hander Daniel Herrera on the mound, Harper took a bit of a leaning start out of the box and slapped a pitch to the left side. It appeared to be a pretty routine ground ball to non-roster invitee Vinny Rottino at third base, but the 19-year-old hustled down the line in order to beat the throw. You can watch the play here.

Here’s Harper’s explanation of the hit, via Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com:

“I just tried to ‘Ichiro’ it,” Harper said, referring to the Mariners great who has made a living out of that fast-pitch softball-style swing. “I just tried to put the bat on the ball. That happened, and I just started running.”

Harper had two singles and a walk last night and is now 4-for-7 with four singles during Grapefruit League action. It would still be a surprise if he broke camp with the team given the obvious service clock considerations, but he’s getting plenty of playing time thus far. Michael Morse was scratched from today’s lineup with a lat strain, so Harper will start in right field for the fourth time in the past five days.

Bruce Bochy announces he’s going to retire at the end of the season

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Bruce Bochy just told reporters at spring training in Scottsdale that he plans to retire following the 2019 season.

This will be Bochy’s 25th year as a big league manager. He managed the Padres from 1995 through 2006 and took the Giants over in 2007. He has, obviously, lead them to three World Series titles, in 2010, 2012 and 2014. For his career he has a record of 1926-1944.

He will likely be inducted into the Hall of Fame at his first opportunity.