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He stayed in the game even though blood was trickling from the cut, and struck out in the ninth inning.

It’s common for players to vent frustration by throwing or swinging something. Most times, nothing happens. Harper’s gash above the eye was a reminder that it’s important to vent safely, a lesson the New York Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire learned after punching a case surrounding a fire extinguisher after a loss to the Heat in the NBA playoffs.

One frustrated swing can make everything much worse.

“I’ve had teammates punch walls and break their hands,” Reds outfielder Drew Stubbs said, referring to his days in the minor leagues. “You have to be careful or you could end up missing time.”

Harper’s gash got the attention of Reds rookie shortstop Zack Cozart, who has never hurt himself while throwing a fit.

“I’ve thrown helmets,” Cozart said. “You get frustrated in the heat of the moment. I’ve never had anything like a bat come back and hit me. That’s kind of scary.”

Maybe he should be more like Reds All-Star second baseman Brandon Phillips, who doesn’t see a point in throwing or hitting anything after a bad at-bat.

“I laugh at myself,” Phillips said. “I don’t throw my helmet. It’s not the helmet’s fault. It’s not the bat’s fault.

“He’s just trying hard. He’s young. He’ll learn. The older he gets, he won’t do that. That just shows he’s wearing his emotions on his sleeve.”

Reds manager Dusty Baker learned how to handle frustration from a Hall of Famer early in his playing career.

“Everybody, when they’re young, has a temper,” Baker said. “I’ve seen guys throw their helmet on the ground and it bounces back up and hits them in the face.

“I remember one time I threw my helmet and Hank Aaron put his hand on the back of my neck and said he never wanted to see me do that again. I said, `OK, if you’ll take your hand off my neck.’ He said it’s not the helmet’s fault. Pick it up, put it where it belongs, go over and sit down and figure out how you’re going to get him the next time.”

Johnson attributed Harper’s outburst to frustration brought on by trying too hard at the plate.

“I thought last night was one of the few times he was overly aggressive,” Johnson said. “He’s been patient, making them throw in the strike zone. Last night they threw a lot of off-speed stuff and he was chasing it.

“Obviously the whole night he was overly aggressive. He hit that wall pretty hard and maybe it knocked some sense into him.”