- Associated Press - Sunday, August 15, 2010

WASHINGTON | The NationalsStephen Strasburg had some pointed words for fellow No. 1 draft pick Bryce Harper: “If he doesn’t want to play here, then we don’t want him here.”

Just like Strasburg a year ago, it appears that Harper and the Nationals will come down to the midnight Monday deadline in an attempt to reach a contract agreement. Harper, a 17-year-old slugger, is represented by Scott Boras, who is known for playing hardball during negotiations.

“If (Harper) wants to play here, he’s going to play here,” Strasburg said Sunday, after pitching five innings in the Nationals‘ win over Arizona. “He doesn’t need advice from anybody to convince him otherwise. If he doesn’t want to play here, then we don’t want him here.”

Boras has said that Harper is an interesting case because few high school sluggers have been taken No. 1 overall, so there are few comparable cases. Harper is also considered one of the top power-hitters to come along in years.

“There are few high school players in the draft history, since 1965, that have the extraordinary tool of power,” Boras said following the draft. “When it’s evidenced, it’s rare.”

Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said Saturday that he expects to sign Harper.

If the Nationals do, it might take another massive commitment. They signed Strasburg seconds before the midnight deadline last year to a record $15.1 million contract.

“It’s his decision,” Strasburg said of Harper.

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