VIERA, FL. — When it comes to Jonathan Papelbon's surprising return to the Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper is tired of talking about it.
He addressed the media following the incident last September. Then, the two talked it out over the offseason. Harper then discussed the issue at Nationals WinterFest and again in various interviews along the way.
Harper said he was over it on the day it happened and he is sticking to that message. On Monday at Nationals spring training, Harper aimed to kill the story for what he hopes is the final time.
"It's something that just happens. This is the first and last time I will talk about it [to the media]," he said.
"It was something that got blown up out of proportion with the media and whatnot. It was squashed that day and that's what it's going to be like for the rest of the year. There are things that happen during the year that are just part of baseball and part of sports and life."
Papelbon was suspended by the team for the remainder of the season after the Sept. 27 altercation. It was a moment caught on live television that became a national story and put Papelbon's future in Washington in serious doubt.
Nearly five months later, however, Papelbon is still with the Nationals. Harper insists there will be no problems between them this year and hopes the two of them - along with the rest of the team - can come together working towards the same goal.
"Just try to build from that and do everything you can to make sure it doesn't happen again. Hopefully we can go about it the right way this year to come together as a team and as a family. That's all that matters. I just want to win. I want us to be out there pulling on the same rope every single day and working hard and doing everything we can as an organization and win ballgames," he said.