Yesterday at NatsFest Bryce Harper said that he may not be 100% for Spring Training. That isn’t the main goal of the Nationals by any means. Matt Williams stated that Harper is “on track in his rehab” and that the main goal is to have him ready for Opening Day.
That is the goal for every player that has offseason surgery. You want to be healthy enough that you can play in the second half of Spring Training and be 100% for Opening Day. That is what Harper prepares to do.
Harper had this to say about his surgery and how he feels:
"“To be able to hit with no pain and run with no pain was a lot of fun,” Harper said on Saturday during NatsFest. “I haven’t hit with no pain for about a year, so it’s not very fun to go through for a year, year and a half. I know you’re going to have your ups and downs, play through pain, but that was something I didn’t like doing, and it didn’t feel very good. So being able to hit, being able to run, being able to chuck baseballs and things like that, it’s been a great offseason. It’s a lot of fun to be able to do it not hurt.”"
If this is the first time he has felt pain free in over a year, I can’t wait to see the numbers he puts up in 2014. In an injured 2013, he hit .274/.368/.486 with 20 home runs and 58 RBI in 118 games. He had a very good April but in May he slowed down after running into the wall at Dodger Stadium.
We will have to keep up with Harper during Spring Training and watch his body movements. Is he really healthy or is he trying to rush the process in order to get back into the game. We saw last year that he refused to be taken out of games because of injuries, is he going to rush back and make sure he is ready to go on Opening Day no matter if he is 100% or not?
Harper also had this to say about that process:
"“It’s all about how I feel in rehab and how I feel that day,” Harper said of his availability at the beginning of the spring. “If I’m not feeling very well, if the knee’s not reacting very well, then I’ll take a day off and see where I’m at the next day.”"
We will see how these statements match up with his Spring Training. Is he going to actually take those days off when needed? I sure hope so, because there is no point in injuring himself, during the Spring and slowing him down once the regular season begins.
He is a huge piece of the Nationals success puzzle, if he is healthy the Nats have a good chance to win, if not, it could turn south, quick.