TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Bryce Harper went 0 for 2 against New York Yankees opening-day starter Masahiro Tanaka on Wednesday night in his third spring training game, and first on the road, since signing baseball’s biggest contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The slugger is hitless in three at-bats and has walked three times overall.
Harper received a mixture of applause and boos from the crowd at a packed Steinbrenner Field when he was announced before a first-inning at-bat that ended on a grounder to first base.
“He’s obviously not only a star player in the game but also a big attraction,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Harper, who homered for his only hit in five regular season at-bats against Tanaka, struck out swinging on the eighth pitch of his at-bat in the third.
Tanaka allowed two runs, six hits and struck out six over 3 2/3 innings.
Facing Adam Ottavino in the fifth, Harper was awarded first base on catcher’s interference and then stole second.
Harper signed a record $330 million, 13-year contract earlier this month.
“Bryce being here and bringing this attention I think has a chance to create higher expectations, which can create a higher level of play from our guys,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “And also I think it separates the guys who play with the brightest lights from the guys who can’t, and I think that’s a great thing for our ball club.”
Harper walked twice against Toronto on Saturday, and took a 96 mph fastball for strike three from AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell and drew a walk from Jalen Beeks in Monday’s game with Tampa Bay.
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Yankees guest instructor Bernie Williams threw the ceremonial first pitch and played The Star-Spangled Banner on the guitar while in uniform. The jazz guitarist spent Monday’s day off performing in a concert at nearby Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. He got a loud ovation walking off the field carrying a guitar case over his shoulder.
Longtime minor league manager and coach Tony Franklin is retiring after spring training, ending a run of 48 years in pro baseball that includes the past 13 with the Yankees. “I enjoyed every minute,” Franklin said. Among his assignments with the Yankees were managing Double-A Trenton and rookie-league Pulaski, and rehab coach at the Tampa minor league complex.
Phillies OF Odubel Herrera (hamstring) and 2B Cesar Hernandez both had five plate appearances in a minor league game. Hernanez will play in Thursday’s game against Pittsburgh, while Herrera will DH Saturday against Houston. Kapler said “a realistic scenario for us is to have both of those guys on our opening-day roster ready to go, fully healthy, timing where it needs to be.”
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