Well, look at what we have here. Washington's Bryce Harper throwing a pigskin around Nationals Park like he's Johnny Football Manziel and catching it like he's... Bryce Harper with an injured left thumb in a splint. It's one way to keep his throwing arm in shape while Harper recuperates from surgery to repair a ligament in his thumb.
As Mike Axisa of CBS Eye on Baseball notes, it would be super easy to go overboard worrying about this, with Harper out of the lineup until at least July. As others have noted, considering that his football tossing happened inside of the stadium, presumably the team was aware of it and is OK with it. Just as long as he doesn't... use... his... left... hand.
The clip above, pretty much, is all of the video MASN-TV showed during a moment in the Nationals game Wednesday night, so we don't know if he cheated and used both hands as a reflex, as is the normal compulsion when catching a football. Regardless, as the Washington Post notes, Harper's gridiron workout made Nats announcer Bob Carpenter nervous:
“Before the game today, that guy, Bryce Harper, doing his best RGIII imitation, throwing the football out there,” F.P. Santangelo said. “Running a few patterns, too.”
“Okay, I feel better now that I saw him do that one-handed,” a concerned Bob Carpenter said. “I’m thinking, we’re going to have a broken thumb catching footballs?”
Any diving catches that Harper made were edited out of MASN’s clip to avoid any further consternation.
It's understandable consternation. Harper probably is bored and wearing a glove isn't practical right now, so a traditional game of catch is out. It would be nice, though, if the Nats provided him a shadow receiver so Harper wasn't the one trying to awkwardly catch a football with one hand. You see them in the NFL all of the time, a dude standing next to the quarterback warming up on the sidelines so the important guy doesn't risk jamming or breaking a finger as he plays catch. Go the extra step, Natinals.
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