Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper Ejected Early In Series Finale With Pittsburgh Pirates

Justin K. Aller

Third base umpire John Hirschbeck punched Bryce Harper out on a check-swing strike three in the 20-year-old outfielder's first AB, then threw him out of the game when Harper stared out at the veteran ump a little too long in a silent expression of his dissatisfaction...

Bryce Harper is struggling. The Washington Nationals' 20-year-old outfielder's bruised side, injured trying to catch a Tim Hudson homer during last week's series in Atlanta is clearly bothering the 2010 no.1 overall pick. In four games since that leaping attempt, which saw the ball pop out of Harper's glove as he collided with Turner Field's fenced right field wall, Harper, who has a .315/.403/.639 line on the year, is 2 for 15 with two walks, three Ks and no extra base hits. He's not about to sit, however. The Nationals' outfielder has continued to take the field in spite of obvious discomfort and he did again this afternoon for the finale with the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park.

Harper's 31st game of 2012 lasted all of one AB. In his first at bat of the afternoon, the Nats' left fielder was punched out by third base ump John Hirschbeck on a check swing on a two-out, 2-2 curve from Pirates' lefty Wandy Gonzalez that fell in for a strike whether or not Harper did hold back. The second-year major leaguer stared out at the veteran umpire for a little too long and after what appeared to be a warning, Harper was tossed by the umpire. Nats' skipper Davey Johnson came out for a long discussion, but Hirschbeck wasn't about to reverse his decision, obviously.

• VIDEO: Harper Gets Ejected:


The Nationals were already down a man on the bench with Jayson Werth unavailable and dealing with hamstring issues which have thus far kept him out of the series in Pittsburgh's PNC Park. Regardless of what he thought of the call, Harper lost his cool and put himself in a position which hurt his team when they couldn't afford it. Roger Bernadina, who's hitless vs LHP so far this season (0 for 5) took over in left and the Nationals went down 1-0 early before tying it up in the third game of three...

1-1 in PNC in the 4th. The Nationals will have to win it without their three-hole hitter...

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