- Associated Press - Thursday, April 7, 2011

ROME, GA. (AP) - Bryce Harper has hit several balls well over the right-field fence while preparing for his first professional game.

Harper put a power show in batting practice Thursday. The overall No. 1 pick by the Washington Nationals in last year’s draft was set to start for Class A Hagerstown against the Rome Braves in the Single-A South Atlantic League.

Some of Harper’s practice shots easily cleared the wall and headed toward the parking lot just beyond a picnic area. Harper stood out when he came on the field for warmups, because he was only player wearing stirrups and orange-and-black shoes.

The 18-year-old Harper was playing right field. He signed a $9.9 million contract after the Nationals drafted him, the biggest payday for a drafted position player.

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