Nationals manager on sending Bryce Harper to minors: 'It won't happen'

Jonah Birenbaum
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The Washington Nationals aren't entirely sure how to rejuvenate Bryce Harper's lethargic bat, but manager Matt Williams isn't even considering sending the 21-year-old back to the minor leagues, according to CSN's Mark Zuckerman.

“Bryce Harper’s one of the guys on our team. He’s a very important part of our team. Just like everybody else is. Do we understand each other? It’s not fair to the kid, it’s not fair to the other guys in that clubhouse, to even think about sending Bryce Harper to the minor leagues, or to cause a stir. It’s unacceptable. It won’t happen.”

Though Williams acknowledged that it's common for teams to option struggling youngsters to the minors when they struggle, Harper is anything but typical.

“I don’t think it’s stupid. Generally, if you have young players, that’s what you do," Williams said. "But this guy is a special young player. We all know that. It’s different. I think he works hard every day. He’s the first one in the ballpark, generally, to get his day going. He’s grinding. We’re doing everything we can to get a good feel going in there and help him with his confidence and all that."

Harper returned from the disabled list June 30 after missing more than two months with a torn thumb ligament, and the former first overall pick is hitting just .214/.319/.306 with two home runs since rejoining the lineup. His struggles have intensified of late, as Harper is just 3-for-24 (.125) with nine strikeouts and no extra-base hits over his last seven contests.