JUPITER, Fla. - Bryce Harper, who is on the road with the Nationals today, will travel again with the team to Tampa on Saturday to face the New York Yankees, manager Jim Riggleman said. But he won't start the game against his favorite team.
The reason? CC Sabathia is starting for the Yankees, and Riggleman doesn't want to have Harper getting all of his at-bats against the tough lefty yet. The Nationals also have a number of other outfielders in camp on minor league deals they need to play, Riggleman said.
Harper will likely get an at-bat or two later in the game and play right field.
Harper has made no secret of his love for the Yankees, for whom he said he grew up cheering. In his first press conference with the Nationals this spring, he said, "I love the Yankees. I've always loved the Yankees since I was younger. They have all the studs. They have a lot studs out there. You just want to see how everybody goes about their business."
Asked later if he would have to back off on his Yankees love now that he was with the Nationals, though, Harper said the politically correct thing.
"Yeah, I want to beat the Yankees, that's for sure," he said. "If I could be the Yankee breaker, be the guy who breaks that streak of them winning, that would be great."