Nationals' Matt Williams angry over Bryce Harper demotion talk

Thursday August 7th, 2014

In a radio interview Wednesday morning, Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams was asked about the possibility of demoting struggling outfielder Bryce Harper to the minors.

Williams said he didn't know if sending Harper down was a good idea because he would be facing lower-quality pitching.

The subject came up again at a news conference later that day. Here is Williams' response, transcribed by The Washington Post:

“I would caution everybody in this room: The minute you think you can read my freakin’ mind, you’re sorely mistaken,” Williams said. “It [ticks] me off to even think about that somebody would take a comment I make on the radio and infer that I’m thinking one way or the other. I’ve had it. Don’t do it anymore. Bryce Harper is one of the guys on our team. He’s an important part of our team, just like everybody else is. It’s not fair to the kid. It’s not fair to the rest of the guys in that clubhouse to even think about sending Bryce Harper to the minor leagues, or to cause a stir. It’s unacceptable. It won’t happen. Is that good enough for you?”

More: For Nationals, Harper's slump provides problem with no easy answer

Williams is in his first season managing the Nationals.

Harper, 21, has faltered at the plate this season, posting a .250 batting average with three home runs and 14 RBIs over 53 games.

Harper hit a walk-off home run in Thursday's 12-inning win over the Mets.

The Nationals opened Thursday at 62-51, in first place in the National League East.

- Chris Johnson

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