Bryce Harper was unavailable to the media after Monday night’s game. But on Tuesday, feeling a bit nauseous and sore, Harper talked about his collision with the right field scoreboard at Dodger Stadium.
You can read the full story about Harper, how he was feeling, how he has no plans to change his style of play and how the Nationals don’t want to force him to, here.
But here’s some of what Harper had to say, including his thoughts as things were happening on Monday.
On how he was feeling and what was hurting: “Both of my legs, left shoulder, ribs, hand, wrist, chin. I didn’t feel too bad last night. I got up and said to (Nationals trainer Lee Kuntz) ‘Can I play?’ He goes ‘No. I don’t think so.’ I said ‘Let’s butterfly it up and play. I can do this. We’ll get through this game and I’ll be fine.’ And (manager Davey Johnson) goes ‘Yeah, hey, he’s good. Let’s go.’
“Lee goes ‘No, he’s not. We’ve got to get him off the field.’ I was like ‘I’m good, let’s go. I can play. I’m fine. It just got me a little bit.’ Lee was like ‘You’re not looking at your neck right now. There’s no way.’ I came off the field and they put stitches in. I feel kind of crappy today. A little car sick, I guess you could say. No concussion or anything like that which was very pleasant to hear.”
On his read on the play: “I thought I had the ball the whole time. Turned left, didn’t think he’d hit it as hard as he did. Went back to the right side of it. Thought I had about five more feet. I was on the ball. Just looking at the ball. Didn’t even feel the track. Right when I turned around and jumped to get the ball, before I even tried to leap up, I just hit the wall. I don’t know if (center fielder Denard Span) was saying anything. I didn’t hear him at all. I just tried to go balls to the wall and when I’m on a ball I try to get that ball.”
On if he realized what he’d done: “I realized everything that was going on, it was just something that happened. I hit the wall and I knew that I was fine. I was conscious. I felt it. I knew I split (my chin) open. I could feel I split it open and I rolled back over and touched it to see but I didn’t know how bad it was until Lee got out there and told me it was pretty bad.”
On how long he thinks it’ll be until he gets back in the lineup: “I just don’t think I should go out there right now with how I’m feeling today, kind of nauseous. That’s the only thing that’s kind of holding me out of the lineup. Soreness and stuff, that’s part of the game. You play through that. But if I wasn’t feeling so nauseous I’d be in the lineup.”
On if he thinks playing the outfield more and learning the stadiums could more through experience could’ve helped prevent what happened: “It’s just something that throughout my career I’ll learn, I guess. But that’s how I play. I’ve always played like that. Even in college. I’d run into walls and get back up and go ‘Holy crap. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.’ But that’s the way I play. If I catch a ball and make a great play for my pitcher, we’re ahead 6-0. It’s something that I pride myself on and I’m going to keep playing like that for the rest of my career.”
On if he has anything to say to those who think he needs to tone down the way he plays, for his own safety: “I’m going to play this game for the rest of my life and try to play as hard as I can every single day. That’s my life being on the line. I’m trying to kill myself out there on the field for my team, trying to win a World Series. People can laugh at that all they want but at the end of the day I’m going to look myself in the mirror and say I played this game as hard as I could and tried to help my team win a World Series everyday.”