VIERA, Fla. -- If not you, then who?
That's the message for Wednesday, Feb. 19.
Nationals manager Matt Williams puts a new message on top of each day's workout schedule. Friday, he'll hold his first full-team workout. Everyone passed his physical and there aren't health issues, which Williams says is important for a rookie manager.
You could tell he was anxious to get the whole team out on the field and get spring training in full gear. The first pre-season game is just a week from Friday against the Mets at Port St. Lucie. The first game will be here at Space Coast Stadium next Saturday vs. the Braves.
Bryce Harper says his knee feels great. He says it's felt pretty normal since Jan. 1. He has no soreness; mobility is good and so is his strength.
Harper says he can press 500 pounds. He looks big and chiseled and is ready to test the knee on a baseball field.
Williams, however, wants to see how Harper and his knee handle back-to-back workouts, and then go from there.
Harper passed all the stress tests on his knee, so the Nats are confident he's ready to go, but Williams still plans on resting him during the season on some back-to-back, night-to-day games.
How Williams handles Bryce Harper may be one of his legacies as Nationals manager. He'll be helped by Bryce himself, who is never satisfied with what he does and works extremely hard to improve his game. He told Williams he wants to be a better base runner, and Williams would like to utilize that part of his game: He wants to "let him be free to play."
He says he realizes Bryce is a game-changer in all facets of the game: with his bat, arm and bunting.
Williams wants to "sharpen his skills to get him to a point where he's a legitimate MVP candidate." We have to remember: Bryce Harper is just 21, entering his third major league season.
The upside is as huge as his biceps.
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