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Harper on what he's done and what he wants to become

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Harper on what he's done and what he wants to become

Bryce Harper's career day of three home runs and five RBI on Wednesday provided him a chance to not only talk afterwards about what he had done, but also what he wants to be.

The two-time All-Star spoke extensively on his future and some of his personal goals. There were a lot of good quotes, too many to fit into my postgame story on Wednesday.

Here are some of his thoughts on how he still wants to improve...

How has drawing more walks helped your offensive game?

"I'd love to lead the league in walks. That means you're getting on base and getting on base for the guys you need to get on base for. I've got a great guy behind me in Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos, those are guys I need to get on base for. If I can score 100 runs a year, that means the guys behind me are getting 80 RBIs. Just trying to get on base, do things the right way and score runs."

Is it simply being more patient?

"I mean, I just feel like the older I get the more I need to be patient. You're gonna get one pitch an at-bat, half a pitch an at bat. I've talked to multiple guys about being a little bit frustrated, trying to do a little bit too much, trying to do certain things, but the biggest thing is to try to draw your walks, get on base for the guys behind you."

Do walks lead to extra basehits, do they go hand-in-hand?

"I think when you're walking, you're a better hitter. When I was younger, I walked a bunch, and became a hitter I felt pretty good about. Talking to my pops, talking to people around the game, when you're seeing the ball well, you're getting into counts that make the pitcher think about it. I've even talked to pitchers. I've talked to [Max Scherzer] a bunch of times about it. When you're taking pitches on the inside half and they're one or two inches off and they're calling it a ball, you know that makes the pitcher freak out a little bit. So, just trying to go up there and have some good ABs. If I walk, I walk. If I strike out, I strike out, if I hit a homer I hit a homer. It's just part of the game."

Is walking more allowing you to key in and wait for your best pitches to hit?

"I mean in certain situations. Today of course, I felt good. There's times when I'm still missing my pitch. If you look at a minor leaguer and a big leaguer, a high school guy and a big league guy, they don't miss their pitch. Big leaguers do not miss. That's why Nelson Cruz is so good, that's why Mike Trout is so good, that's why Robinson Cano is so good. That's why all these guys are so good, because they don't miss their pitch. I'm still trying to get to that point. Just trying to have great ABs -- I don't think I've had a bad AB all year, I've been locked in each AB -- and you know Marlon Anderson used to tell me, you only have to lock in for five seconds. Best you can. Five to ten seconds , you're in that box, lock in as fast as you can and stay locked in."

How are you feeling in right field and how you have adjusted on defense this season?

"I like right field. Having a great guy like Jayson Werth in the clubhouse, being able to lean on him a little bit, seeing reactions at each field, what the ball's gonna do down the line, what the ball's gonna do in certain places we play, I'm just trying to learn as much as I can. And of course Denard is so good in center field that I've been able to lean on him, too and try to get good reads. I'm so focused in the outfield right now, just trying to get better, trying to be a defensive guy, not just offense. I'm trying to win gold gloves"

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.