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Hurdle to Harper: Just play

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Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was asked this afternoon if he had any reaction to Cole Hamels’ five-game suspension for intentionally throwing at Nats uber-hyped rookie¬†Bryce Harper. Hurdle paused for a moment, shrugged and smiled. “Boys will be boys,” he said.

Like Harper, Hurdle is a former top draft pick whose major league debut was eagerly anticipated. At age 20, Hurdle was touted as a phenom on the cover of Sports Illustrated. At 19, Harper is the youngest guy in the majors this season. But that, Hurdle said, is where the similarities end. “You’re talking about 1978 and 2012,” Hurdle said. “The attention now is so much more dynamic, the opportunities, the wants and asks are so much more dynamic. (Two weeks ago) I encouraged (Harper) to just go out and play and that’s what he’s doing. As an industry, we facilitate those challenges much better from an organizational standpoint than might have been back then. I remember, I kept answering questions (as a rookie). Fortunately, I had a person who cared about me enough who said, ‘You sound like you know something about everything.’ I said, what do you mean? He said, ‘You answer every question.’ I said I was just trying to be polite. He said, ‘Yeah, but it comes across like you know everything.’ I said, that’s a very good point. I was trying to answer everything, but I wasn’t always paying attention to the question being asked and I’d get away from the game. I think he’s had much more help and instruction. He’s a smart kid, got a lot of talent, got a good group of men who support him over in that clubhouse.”

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