Harper “felt great” after three-run homer, Ramos drives in two for Potomac

WOODBRIDGE, Va. - Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper slammed a three-run homer in his second game of the rehab process on Tuesday for Single-A Potomac Nationals.

Harper went 2-for-3 with a single, homer, walk, scored a run and drove in four.

In his final at-bat, facing Salem right-hander Kyle Kraus, Harper crushed a 3-1 pitch over the right center field fence for a three-run shot to give Potomac a 10-0 lead in the fifth inning.

“It felt really good,” Harper said. “Trying to go up there be patient like I said yesterday. Got a good hitting count. Put some good wood on the ball and let it go a little bit. Nice going out there.”

It was only the second homer Kraus had allowed in a night game for the Red Sox this season. It was also the home run inning, so one lucky fan walked home with $100.

Unlike Monday night, Harper felt no vibration on the home run because he hit it so well on the sweet spot.

“No. I go that homer pretty good,” Harper said. “There’s no vibration or anything like that. The ball to short, hit that pretty solid also. So that felt good. Felt really good today and thumb felt great.”

In his third at-bat, Harper hit a hard liner up the middle through the glove of the shortstop, scoring a run, making it 7-0 Potomac.

Catcher Wilson Ramos went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles and two RBIs, playing the full nine innings again. He has had five RBIs in two games with the P-Nats

Harper played defense in center field. He fielded a grounder off of a single, but did not have any fly balls come his way.

The P-Nats won the game 10-1.

Harper did not get much play in center, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy playing that spot on defense.

“I love playing center,” Harper said. “I love being out there. Being able to communicate with the guys that (we) have out there. I have played with Odie (Randolph Oduber) multiple times in the minors. It was a lot of fun to be back out there and play center field and be intact with the game and try to stay as focused as you can and center is a lot of fun.

“It’s a lot of fun to play out there. I love it. It’s the best position in the outfield I think to play. I enjoy doing it. I stay in the game more. I think I’m a lot better at the plate when I play out there.”

Harper cautioned even though Tuesday’s second game went so well, he is not going to veer from the regimented rehab schedule the Nationals have advised. The most important thing is to test the thumb in a variety of game situations. The variables increase only when you get in several games.

“I really want to stick to that same schedule,” Harper said. “Nothing more, nothing less. Really just try to see where my thumb’s at. If I need more than I am going to take more. If I feel like I can play less, I am going to rethink that and play as many as I can to see where my thumb goes. I haven’t got jammed yet or anything like that. If it happens I want to see how it feels.

“Hopefully it doesn’t happen, cause that wouldn’t be good. But I really just want to see how it feels when I slide. I haven’t had the opportunity to slide. I slid with two outs, I did that on purpose just to get a little drag on it. That felt fine. I just want to stay on track with what I am doing and see how I feel.”

Harper, who will take Wednesday off, said he could not confirm if Single-A Hagerstown would be his next stop on Thursday.

“I’m not sure. I know I’m going to go throw tomorrow and just take a day off, lift,” Harper said. “See how I feel, see what I can do. Hit a little bit. Just take a day just to get my thumb where it needs to be and talk to the guys tomorrow and see where I am going.”

Harper was impressed with the P-Nats and what he saw from Tony Renda who led off in front of him.

“They got a great lineup too,” Harper said. “It’s a lot of fun to hit behind (Tony) Renda, a guy that can really pick it at second and hit leadoff. He’s pretty dang good.”

Harper had a good vantage point from center field to see right-hander Austin Voth really deal in his first Single-A start. Voth went six innings, allowed only two hits, walked two and struck out six.

“He looked great. He’s doing well,” Harper said of Voth. “I was excited to see a guy like that. I had no clue who he was. To be able to see a guy like that come out here and pretty much carve. He did a great job. It was fun to watch.”

But with all the good feeling regarding his thumb, Harper reiterated that he has a measured patience during the rehab process with no urgency to return too quickly.

“Not very eager. Of course, I want to be up there playing in the big leagues,” Harper said. “But like I said, I want to stay on my timetable and this is something I need to do.”

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