Harper to play in next WBC

Harper to play in next WBC
March 11, 2013, 5:30 pm
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Bryce Harper already wears a red, white, and blue uniform but some day he would like to represent something bigger than just the city of Washington.

The 20-year-old outfielder plans to play in the next World Baseball Classic, no matter what,  he told Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

“In four years, absolutely I want to play, 100 percent,” Harper said Monday. “They can write my name down right now.”

Harper was invited to play in this year's Classic but declined because it was "too serious of at-bats." He explained further why he didn't accept the invite to Rosenthal, saying he wanted to take advantage of his first full MLB spring training. Also important was getting comfortable in left field and building chemistry with new center fielder Denard Span.

Baseball's other young phenom, Mike Trout, also declined to participate citing the need for spring training reps. Imagine in 2017 an outfield featuring Harper, Trout, and Giancarlo Stanton. Then imagine those three as centerpieces in a lineup, it would be something every baseball fan would like to see.

Harper could have been used in this year's classic, regardless of his reasons. With the exception of David Wright's grand slam against Italy and a late offensive surge vs. Canada, USA has struggled to score at times.

It seems the national television exposure and presence of Twitter has ignited a new interest in the tournament, with American players such as Harper expressing their support for the team. Harper's teammate Ian Desmond has been rooting them on and told Rosenthal he wants to play in 2017 as well. Could other Nats join them? What if Stephen Strasburg's recovery concerns are behind him by then? 

Rosenthal's piece also has plenty of interesting stuff from Harper and Desmond on what playing on the team would mean to them, check it out right here.