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Harper walks in first plate appearance with Phillies

March 9, 2019

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — Bryce Harper drew a pair of five-pitch walks on Saturday in his first spring training appearance since signing a record contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The six-time All-Star outfielder signed a $330 million, 13-year contract last week, the largest deal in baseball history.

Batting third as the designated hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays, Harper took four straight pitches after a mighty swing and miss in the first inning. Rhys Hoskins followed with a mammoth two-run homer.

Harper fouled off the first pitch he saw in the third before taking another four pitches out of the strike zone. Fans booed the pitcher as Harper jogged to first base and then was replaced by a pinch runner.

Wearing No. 3, Harper earned a loud ovation from fans at Spectrum Field when he walked up to the plate to Will Smith’s theme song from “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.”

The 26-year-old Harper played his first seven seasons for the Washington Nationals. He was the 2015 NL MVP.


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