Nationals' Bryce Harper moves up the teen slugger list

Posted: September 08, 2012

It's the Bryce Harper magical history tour.

When the Nationals' 19-year-old rookie crushed two home runs in Washington's 9-1 rout of the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night, he moved to third-most all-time in a single season by a teenager and now trails only Mel Ott (18 in 1928) and Tony Conigliaro (24 in 1964). With his second multihomer game, he also joined Ott and Ken Griffey Jr. as the only teenagers to do that.

His second homer was a screaming liner into the middle of the deck above the Nats' bullpen in right. Teammate Adam LaRoche gave the Washington Post this review: "Nuked."

Harper, playing in front of his parents, was more low-key. When asked if their presence gave his power display a bit more oomph, he said no.

"They've seen it a couple times."


Everybody remembers that umpire Jim Joyce cost the Detroit Tigers' Armando Galarraga a perfect game in 2010 by incorrectly calling a runner safe at first.

How many remember that the runner was Cleveland's Jason Donald?

On Wednesday night, Donald (a former Lehigh Valley IronPig who figured in the 2009 Cliff Lee trade) and Joyce staged a reenactment of sorts in Detroit. With Doug Fister on the mound in the top of the fifth, Donald was called out on another very close play by Joyce, who happened to be umpiring first again.

"I asked Jim if that was a makeup call from two years ago, and he told me that I was going to give him a heart attack if I kept doing that here," Donald said. "I told him, 'I was more safe this time than I was last time,' and we both laughed."

Real-life issue

Everybody send some good thoughts in the West Coast direction for Oakland Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who was hit in the head on Wednesday by a liner off the bat of Erick Aybar in a game against the Angels.

McCarthy was alert on Thursday after having surgery for a skull fracture and brain contusion caused by the line drive. The Athletics said Thursday that McCarthy was awake, resting comfortably in the critical care unit of a Bay Area hospital, and showing signs of improvement.

A CT scan after the accident showed the damage. After a second CT scan, the 29-year-old McCarthy had a two-hour operation to relieve pressure in his head.

The A's didn't say how long McCarthy will be out.

In the stuff that suddenly doesn't seem to matter, Oakland was idle, and is a half-game back in the AL wild-card race.

Contact Michael Harrington at

This article contains information from the Associated Press.

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