Harper grounds out in his first at-bat (flies out in his second)

There would be no 500-foot home run, no legendary welcome-to-the-big-leagues moment which people will be talking about for decades to come.

Bryce Harper’s first major league at-bat ended in a slow ground ball back to Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley, who tossed to first to nab a sprinting Harper by a step.

That’s it. The kid’s a bust. Get rid of him.

Harper will smash many homers in his career, but when he came to the plate in the second inning with baseball fans across the country tuning in, the 19-year-old phenom got up in the count 2-1, then hit an 88 mph Billingsley fastball just 60 feet right back to the mound.

Harper could have put his head down and lightly jogged out what was a routine play by Billingsley, but he took off out of the box and nearly tumbled to the ground after landing on first base. You’ve got to love the hustle the youngster shows on every play.

The Nationals and Dodgers are scoreless from Los Angeles.

Update: We’re still scoreless in the middle of the fifth, and Harper’s now 0-for-2 after flying out to left in the top of the fifth.

On the first pitch of his second at-bat, Harper gave a small sample of the power in his swing, scorching a Billingsley curveball foul down the left-field line. After taking two pitches to get up in the count 2-1, Harper reached for a changeup on the outside corner and flared it to left.

Left fielder Tony Gwynn made the catch to retire Harper, and Billingsley got out of the inning to keep the game scoreless.

Stephen Strasburg has matched Billingsley zero for zero, meanwhile, allowing just three hits over four shutout innings. The Nats’ ace has struck out five Dodger hitters.

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