Nationals' OF Bryce Harper on Knee Injury: "It Was a Lot Worse Than a Lot of People Thought."

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

You can keep waiting for Washington Nationals' outfielder Bryce Harper to turn in to the brash punk you were told he was before he made it to the majors, but the reality is he's a polite, strong-willed, confident, 21-year-old who is healthy and determined heading into the 2014 season.

Asked about the internet chatter over his plan to bulk up this offseason and get "as big as a house" knowing that he'll lose a lot of weight in Spring Training and the regular season, Washington Nationals' outfielder Bryce Harper said Thursday in an appearance on the MLB Network's Hot Stove show that he wasn't sure why it even became a "thing" at all.

"It was a lot worse than a lot of people thought. [Dr. Richard Steadman] went in and really saw that it was pretty bad." - Bryce Harper on knee injury/surgery

"I came in last year, I was 235 [lbs] last year coming into Spring Training," the 21-year-old, Nats' '09 no.1 overall pick explained. "I'm about 235 right now and I'm going to lose about twenty pounds during the season. I'm going to lose about ten during Spring Training. A lot of water weight and things like that. But I love to work out. That's one thing that I really pride myself on."

Asked by a joking Billy Ripken if he was bulking up so he could knock down the wall in Dodger Stadium if he ever runs into it again, Harper let out a dismissive laugh and said, "That's so funny, that's hilarious!" making it clear he'd heard enough "running into walls jokes" though he quickly and politely apologized and said he was, of course, just kidding.

As Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo explained in an MLB Network Radio interview yesterday, Harper is working hard coming off knee surgery and determined to enter camp healthy and ready for 2014. "Don't forget Harp is really doing a lot of work because he had the knee surgery," Rizzo said. "He's coming back from that. Progressing nicely, should be and will be ready for Spring Training. 100%."

According to Harper, the injury was also worse than expected once doctors had a look. "It was a lot worse than a lot of people thought," the Nats' outfielder said. "[Dr. Richard Steadman] went in and really saw that it was pretty bad. But he fixed it and I've been feeling great. I'm pain-free when I hit. And you know, that's the biggest thing. I'm pain-free when I run, ride the bike and it's a lot of fun to be able to play and hit pain-free."

• Check out the rest of Bryce Harper's appearance on the MLB Network below:


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