Washington Nationals' catcher Davey Johnson started last night's press conference in a somber mood, talking about the high ankle sprain 23-year-old debuting catcher Sandy Leon suffered on a collision at the plate in last night's game. "Such an outstanding young man, in his first big league game," Johnson said, "All pumped up and [to] have to get hurt in his first big league game. It's tough." The Nationals placed Leon on the 60-Day DL and called catcher Carlos Maldonado up to take Leon's place on the roster two days after the Nationals lost starting backstop Wilson Ramos to a torn ACL in his right knee. It wasn't all bad news in Nats Park last night. The Nationals did win, 8-5, in spite of another late-inning scare involving closer Henry Rodriguez, who is still the Nats' closer according to Davey Johnson, and as the Nats' 69-year-old skipper said, there were reasons to be happy about the game. "A lot of good things happened today. The kid hit his first home run," Johnson said, with "the kid" of course being 19-year-old rookie Bryce Harper, "The bench delivered big. [Xavier] Nady got something going. We needed to get him going, so it was overall a good game, except for an injury."
Asked specifically about Bryce Harper's first major league home run, the manager said, "I thought it was great. I don't think it's going to calm him down any. I think that's impossible. But it was good to see him hit the ball hard." Harper connected on a 2-1 slider/cutter from Padres' right-hander Tim Stauffer and hit a solo blast onto the batter's eye grass, thrilling those fans who did turn out on a rain-soaked evening in the nation's capital. If you somehow missed the moment of history, here it is:
• Harper's reaction to hitting his first MLB HR?: (via the Washington Times' Amanda Comak):
Bryce Harper on his HR: "I guess I've got no words for it... Hopefully it's one of many." #Nats— Amanda Comak (@acomak) May 15, 2012
• It's a quick turnaround today, as the Nationals and Padres are right back at it with Stephen Strasburg on the mound this afternoon against his hometown team. How long before Harper hits HR no.2?
• BONUS VIDEO: Harper talks about his first HR...
• via CSNWashington.com: