NEW YORK — As National League manager Bruce Bochy announced his lineup for Tuesday night’s All-Star game, he read off a list of some of the game’s most talented players. He reached the No. 9 spot and said that “Bryan” Harper would bat ninth and play center field.
Then he chuckled at his slip of the tongue.
That would be Bryce Harper, the Nationals’ 20-year-old outfielder earning the first All-Star game start in team history and hitting lower than he probably ever has in his life. He’ll play center field, too.
“That’s usually for the pitcher,” Harper quipped during his hourlong media session Monday. “I don’t think I’m pitching tomorrow.”
It was odd to see Harper in that spot. In his 197 major league games, Harper has hit primarily in the No. 2 spot (2012) and No. 3 spot (2013). Coming out of the break, Harper will likely hit leadoff for the Nationals, as he did in the final game before the end of the first half.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson, a coach on Bochy’s staff, said there was a long debate amongst the coaches about the batting order and who would hit where.
With Harper batting ninth, he’ll likely only get one, maybe two, at-bats in the All-Star game.
“Everybody in the lineup is a three-hole hitter,” Johnson said. ”I’m batting him leadoff, and ninth is second leadoff.
“There was a big discussion amongst the coaches. They anguished over the lineup. It’s good enough for me. Other guys are more experienced.”
Here are the full lineups for Tuesday night’s All-Star game:
Brandon Phillips 2B
Carlos Beltran RF
Joey Votto 1B
David Wright 3B
Carlos Gonzalez LF
Yadier Molina C
Troy Tulowitzki SS
Michael Cuddyer DH
Bryce Harper CF
Matt Harvey P
Mike Trout LF
Robinson Cano 2B
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Chris Davis 1B
Jose Bautista RF
David Ortiz DH
Adam Jones CF
Joe Mauer C
J.J. Hardy SS
Max Scherzer P
As for tonight’s Home Run Derby, here is the order as listed on the scoreboard at Citi Field: