(file photo of Harper waving to his adoring fans before running to first base)

Nats OF Bryce Harper sat out Wednesday’s game against Miami with discomfort in his right quad, but that’s apparently not considered sufficient excuse for loafing on the basepaths by manager Matt Williams.  On Saturday, Williams pulled Harper from today’s contest versus St. Louis after the latter was said to be suffering from what the skipper called, “the inability to run 90 feet”.  From the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore :

Leading off the sixth inning, Harper tapped a fastball back to Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn, who snared it on a chest-high hop. Harper jogged out of the batter’s box and peeled off halfway to first base. Once he returned to the dugout, Harper said, Williams informed him, “Kevin’s going to left.”

“We made an agreement,” Williams said. “He and I made an agreement. This team made an agreement that when we play the game, that we hustle at all times, that we play the game with intensity and the willingness to win. As it turned out, his spot came up. Kevin Frandsen put on a nice at-bat against [Trevor] Rosenthal. But his spot came up with the ability to win the game. That’s a shame for his teammates.  Regardless of situation, regardless of what’s happening to you personally, we have to play the game a certain way to give ourselves the best chance to win. And it’s too bad that it came down to that situation in the ninth inning, when he could have been at the plate. For the sake of his teammates, and the sake of the organization, he needs to play with aggression and the way he plays.”

Harper said he “absolutely” understand Williams’s decision and “I respect what he did. It’s part of the game.”