Bryce Harper arrived at Nationals Park for NatsFest today, like Stephen Strasburg more of a draw than an actual major leaguer. Like Strasburg, he’ll return to Florida in the morning for the final few days of the Nationals’ accelerated minor league camp before his minor league debut on April 7 in Rome, Ga.
Harper’s left ankle, which he sprained on March 21, won’t be of any concern then, and it’s not now. Though the 18-year-old said he was “pretty worried about it” when he sprained it, he’s good to go.
His ankle never swelled up - that’s apparently a hereditary trait, since Harper said his father Ron never swelled up after three knee surgeries - and his fears of a serious injury quickly went away when a X-ray and MRI showed no long-term damage.
When Harper comes to Single-A Hagerstown for the first time April 15, he’s expecting his presence there to create a buzz, and he’s not shying away from it.
“Everyone’s telling me (Hagerstown’s) not that great,” Harper said. “But I’m going to make it great, make it a baseball town.”