Bryce Harper failed to run out a groundout in the eighth inning of the Nationals' 3-2 loss on Friday. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper's jog to first base on a crucial play in the eighth inning of the Nationals' 3-2 loss on Friday did not sit well with bench coach Randy Knorr.
Knorr, who filled in for Davey Johnson after Washington's manager left with an illness mid-game, told reporters afterward that the team needs to "fix" Harper's lack of hustle or else "take him out of the game," according to CSN Washington's Mark Zuckerman.
With two on and two outs, Harper grounded a ball to second base on a 3-1 pitch and was thrown out by the Mets' Daniel Murphy, who bobbled the ball after Harper had stopped running.
"The thing about Bryce right now that's tough: He gets frustrated," said bench coach Randy Knorr, who had to take over for an ill Davey Johnson mid-game. "I don't think he does it intentionally, but he's gonna have to start picking it up a little bit, because we've got everybody else doing it. He gets frustrated at times and it just comes out of him. It's something we've got to fix."
Though Harper won over the entire baseball world as a rookie with his nonstop energy and "run-until-they-tag-you" mantra, this wasn't the first time this season others noted less hustle than they've become accustomed to from him. And it may be getting to the point where something has to be done.
"It's hard for me to say," Knorr said. "I'm not 20 years old in the big leagues and all this stuff going on around me. Something that we've got to get to the bottom of and keep talking to him, because eventually we're just going to have to take him out of the game."
Harper downplayed the incident, saying: "I guess I'll learn from it."
The Nationals' loss dropped them to 6.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the NL's second wild card spot.