VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper had his best spring game on Monday afternoon, going 2-for-2 with two RBIs in a 14-9 victory against the Astros, and raising his Spring Training average to .308 in the process.
Harper's most impressive hit came during his second at-bat in the eighth inning. The team had already scored six runs in the inning. With Harper at the plate, one fan in the stands yelled, "Overrated, overrated." On the next pitch from reliever Jorge De Leon, Harper doubled near the right-field line, scoring Matt Stairs and Alex Cora.
Harper acknowledged that he heard the heckling from the fan.
"You can hear everything out there," Harper said. "You can't really get into that. I've been hearing it since I was in high school, college. It doesn't get old because I love it. I love hearing it. I love people saying that stuff about me. I like all the bad stuff."
All though he is hitting over .300, Harper believes it's hard facing opposing pitchers he has never seen. He also said he's not in a hitting groove. He needs at least 30 or 40 at-bats to feel comfortable in the batter's box.
"It's always going to be hard," Harper said about facing opposing pitchers. "I think it was Ted Williams who said, 'I hate hitting in All-Star Games and against rookies.' He had never seen them before. So going up there and seeing guys you have never seen before, especially relievers and closers, they are going to come at you with sliders, knuckleballs, split fingers, everything they have in their kitchen sink.
"I'm still going out there every day and getting things going. It's hard not starting every game. I'm sitting inside the dugout and it feels like I want to fall asleep, but I'm just trying to get things going. There are many things that I need in Spring Training that could really help you out."