VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals manager Matt Williams is impressed by what he has seen from outfielder Bryce Harper. Not only is Harper healthy, according to Williams, he has been able to handle left-handed pitchers without any problems.
Last year, Harper hit .214 against lefties. It didn't help that he injured his left knee on May 13 against the Dodgers. Harper hurt the knee by slamming into the right-field wall at Dodger Stadium. Because of the injury, he played just 118 games in 2013.
"He has faced a few lefties so far this spring and he has done well staying on the baseball. That's good for him right now, especially early," Williams said. "I think he is right on schedule."
In Friday's 8-5 victory over the Astros, Harper went 1-for-3, including a first-inning two-run homer off left-hander Brett Oberholtzer. At first, Harper thought the ball was going to go foul, but the wind blew it over the right-field wall for a home run.
"I hit lefties pretty good. I always have," Harper said. "Last year, my knee killed me. I couldn't stay back on lefties. I was killing myself on that. It's going to be a little bit different this year."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less