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Harper blows kiss at pitcher after homering

Harper homers then blows kiss at opposing pitcher

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Harper blows kiss at pitcher after homering
HAGERSTOWN, Md. -- There was no history between Bryce Harper and Greensboro pitcher Zachary Neal entering Monday's game at Class A Hagerstown, but despite Neal's best effort to downplay it, now there is.

Harper took his time leaving the batter's box and admired his 14th home run of the season, then blew a kiss to Neal, the pitcher, after rounding third base.

"I honestly don't have much to say about it. That was yesterday and we've moved on from it. I don't have much opinion on it now," Neal said. "No history, no nothing, no beef."

Harper again hit third in the lineup for Tuesday's game at Municipal Stadium, where he went 1-for-3 with an RBI bunt single in a 13-4 loss. Harper, who is generally only allowed to speak to the media if he factors into the result of a game, was not available for comment.

Manager Brian Daubach did not say he addressed the matter with Harper specifically, but only that he speaks with Harper every day.

"It's two teams getting after it. I think it's something to learn from for all parties involved," Daubach said. "Our other guys can learn from it, the pitcher can learn from it and obviously Harp can learn from it, too."

There were some questions surrounding Harper's makeup prior to the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Harper was ejected twice in the 2010 season while playing for the College of Southern Nevada, once for arguing balls and strikes with the umpire, and a second time for taunting.

The outfielder is hitting .342 with 14 home runs, 43 RBIs and 40 runs scored in 57 games with the Suns. Harper signed a $9.9 million five-year contract, the largest ever given to a first-year position player.

His 14th home run gave the Suns a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning, but Hagerstown allowed three runs the next inning and lost the matchup between the South Atlantic League's two best teams.

Harper left Sunday's game against Greensboro after he was hit by a pitch on the leg in his first at-bat. He was brushed back off the plate Monday in his first at-bat.

"He's not bigger than the game, so we're just going to go out today and win a ballgame," Neal said. "We're not going to worry about that."

Steven Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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