- The Washington Times - Friday, April 8, 2011

ROME, GA. | Top Nationals prospect Bryce Harper went 2-for-4 in his professional debut, singling in his first two Class A at-bats Thursday night.

The 18-year-old Harper singled to shallow center field on a full-count off-speed pitch in the first for the Hagerstown (Md.) Suns in their South Atlantic League game against the Rome Braves, driving in teammate Randolph Oduber with the game’s first run. The power-hitting prospect then stole his first base.

Harper added another hit in the third inning, when he laid a bunt down the third-base line with a runner on first. The pitcher missed the grab trying to field it, and Harper was safe at first. He was later caught stealing, but the play allowed the runner from third to score.

The prospect’s final two at-bats didn’t go as well. He took a called third strike in the sixth inning and grounded out to second in the eighth.

Harper, the No. 1 overall pick in last summer’s draft, stood out when he came on the field for warmups because he was only player wearing stirrups and orange-and-black shoes. He hit several balls well over the right-field fence during batting practice, with some shots clearing the wall and heading toward the parking lot.

Harper started in right field. He signed a $9.9 million contract after the Nationals picked him, the biggest payday for a drafted position player.

He hit .389 during his time in major league spring training with the Nationals, going 7-for-18 with three doubles.

From wire and staff reports

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