MIAMI -- Bryce Harper had very little reason to be upset in the ninth inning Wednesday night. He'd already hit two home runs, the Nationals were on their way to an 8-4 win and he'd clearly been thrown out at first base to complete a double play.
But Harper slammed down his helmet after hustling down the line, and first-base umpire CB Bucknor immediately ejected the 19-year-old rookie, the first time Harper has been tossed as a Major Leaguer.
"I thought there was one out, and I tossed my helmet down," Harper said afterward. "I shouldn't have done it, but I don't like hitting into double plays. ... I don't know. I just need to stop getting [ticked] off and just live with it, and there's nothing you can change. I just need to grow up in that mentality a little bit. Try not to bash stuff in and things like that I've always done my whole life, and those need to change."
Davey Johnson wasn't pleased with Harper's response to getting called out, and the manager talked to him afterward.
"He expects great things out of himself. He breaks bats, throws his helmet. He's just got to stop it," Johnson said. "Can't afford to be losing him in a ballgame with that. He'll learn. He's young.
"It was done, and he's wrong in doing that. He's wrong in breaking his bats. He's wrong in throwing his helmet down in frustration. It's just, like I say, [he's a] 100 percenter. He's full bore. When he doesn't like the outcome, he shows it off that way. It's just a learning experience. He'll be fine. I'm not worried about him."
Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman echoed Johnson's sentiment, saying nothing the rookie has done is malicious -- just that it's immature, and everyone around him has already learned not to act out that way.
"A bad decision to begin with, but those are the things that he has to learn, and I guess you can only have that excuse for so long, but he usually learns from his mistakes," Zimmerman said. "He knows he needs to stop. Everyone knows he needs to stop.
"You can't do that kind of stuff. I think he knows that. He lets his emotions take over sometimes, and I think Davey, Davey's good with that stuff. ... Now that the principal kind of tells him to stop, hopefully he'll stop. But that's the kind of player he is. He plays hard."