CLEARWATER, Fla. — Bryce Harper has been playing catch-up since his free agency carried over into spring training.
With a week left until opening day, the Philadelphia Phillies’ big-money addition looks ready to pay off.
The Las Vegas High product hit his first two Grapefruit League homers, combining with fellow new additions Andrew McCutchen and J.T. Realmuto to help Philadelphia pound the Toronto Blue Jays 13-6 Thursday.
Harper smashed a two-run homer to right off Sam Gaviglio in the fourth inning and had a solo shot against lefty Thomas Pannone in the sixth. McCutchen also took Gaviglio deep in the second, and Realmuto had a three-run shot in the fourth. That trio has been sharp this spring, with Harper posting a 1.192 OPS, Realmuto at 1.285 and McCutchen .830.
Gift Ngoepe and Andrew Knapp also went deep, and Vince Velasquez struck out nine but allowed three runs and two homers in 3 1/3 innings. Velasquez has a 12.79 ERA this spring.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homered to continue a hot spring with Toronto, and Randal Grichuk, Billy McKinney and Rowdy Tellez also went deep. Gaviglio was charged with eight runs.