Desmond: ‘Harper knows what he is doing’

By Bill Ladson

BALTIMORE — Entering Friday’s action against the Giants, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is hitting .234, ninety-six points lower than last year’s batting average. But good friend, Rangers center fielder Ian Desmond, isn’t worried about Harper. Desmond is a person who should know Harper. They were teammates from 2012 to 2015.

Desmond acknowledged that Harper is in a funk at the plate, but Desmond pointed out that Harper is doing other things to help the Nationals. Harper, according to Desmond, has a high on-base percentage [.378] and is doing well defensively in right field.

“I’ve been watching him from afar,” Desmond said. “He is a professional hitter. He knows what he is doing. He is in a funk, but he is [still] getting on base and still helping the team. I’ve seen him in the highlights making great defensive plays. He is still an asset to the team. His bat in the lineup — whether he is hitting or not — is a bonus.”

Desmond still keeps in touch with some of his former teammates, but he said most of his focus is on the Rangers. Desmond is an MVP candidate, while playing a Gold Glove center field. He leads the team in RBIs and has a team-leading .298 batting average entering Thursday’s action against the Orioles.

“I left there and I kind of made a decision to cut the cord a little bit,” Desmond said. “I focus my attention the Rangers. I’ll shoot Jayson [Werth], Bryce or Zim [Ryan Zimmerman] or [Anthony] Rendon a text here and there. I still love a lot of people in the Nationals organization, certainly a lot of fans that I miss — people around the city. I try to stay in contact as much as I can, but I’m focusing on the Rangers 100 percent.”

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