Nats owner pleased with Harper's patience

Nats owner pleased with Harper's patience

WASHINGTON -- After watching Bryce Harper play two games in Los Angeles, Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner was impressed by the outfielder's first batting opportunities.

Harper went 2-for-6 with a walk and an RBI against the Dodgers.

"I was really impressed by how patient he was at the plate," Lerner said. "Everybody has heard about the power, the sound of the ball off the bat like the great ones, his throwing ability, his catching ability. No question about it, it's very impressive during the first weekend. I was so impressed with his patience at the plate. I saw him during Spring Training and he was [a little impatient], so I was very impressed [by what he did this weekend]."

Entering Tuesday's action, the Nationals are in first place in the National League East with a 14-8 record, and Lerner is pleased with the results. He acknowledged he would like to see the offense improve. The team had a .226 batting average entering Tuesday. It doesn't help that Washington's middle-of-the-order hitters -- Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse -- are on the disabled list.

"If anyone asked us on April 5, 'Would we take 14-8 at the end of April,' we would say, 'Where would we sign?'" Lerner said. "We are excited. If we had our hitting -- with all these injuries -- where would we have been? We can do a lot if we get healthy. If we can stay healthy, it will be a very special year."