Philadelphia Phillies hurler Cole Hamels hit 19-year-old Bryce Harper in the back with the first pitch in his first plate appearance last night against the rookie. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer after the game that he did it on purpose.
“I was trying to hit him,” Hamels said. “I’m not going to deny it. It’s something I grew up watching. That’s what happened. I’m just trying to continue the old baseball. Some people get away from it. I remember when I was a rookie, the strike zone was really, really small and you didn’t say anything. That’s the way baseball is. Sometimes the league is protecting certain players. It’s that old-school prestigious way of baseball.”
After taking first base, Harper moved to third on a single to left field by Jayson Werth. He then stole home on a pickoff attempt at first base, becoming the first teenager in the Major Leagues to steal home since 1964.
Harper also collected two hits against Lee in his later at bats.
The Nationals’ Jordan Zimmermann struck Hamels in the leg on the first pitch of his first at bat of the night.