Porter not fan of Springer’s headfirst slides
With high-flying Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a sprained left thumb, manager Bo Porter — who worked with Harper while a third-base coach of the Nationals for two years – expressed concern of the danger of sliding head first on the bases.
Astros rookie right fielder George Springer, who like Harper plays with ultra aggressiveness, has slid headfirst at least a couple of times since was called up, including once into home plate. Harper hurt the thumb Friday against the Padres when he slide headfirst following a three-run triple and jammed the finger into the base.
He said he’s told his players he prefers them sliding with feet first.
“I don’t like headfirst slides,” said Porter, who still communicates with Harper via text messages. “It just exposes too much of your body and you can get finger hands [hurt]. I really don’t like headfirst slides. Players, for whatever reason, guys that like to slide head first, it’s more of a knee-jerk thing as far as their sliding technique. It’s something I really don’t like, especially when you talk about first base and home plate and the risk of injuries that could happen.”
Porter admitted than when he was a player he would try not to slide head first, but sometimes instincts take over.
“I think sometimes with guys, it’s just a reaction,” he said. “You may even want to slide feet first and the ball could take the person one way or another, and before you know it your instincts take over.”
Earlier this year, Angels slugger Josh Hamilton tore a ligament in his left thumb after sliding headfirst into first base and is expected to miss six to eight weeks. Harper will be sidelined when the Nats visit Minute Maid Park on Tuesday and Wednesday.