Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper’s agent says MLB must take steps to ensure player safety with wet, slick bases

A day after Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper injured his left knee while slipping on a wet first base bag, agent Scott Boras said Major League Baseball needs to take steps to ensure that wet, slick bases aren’t a safety hazard for players during periods of inclement weather.

Harper stumbled over the bag in the first inning of Washington’s 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night. He avoided any ligament or tendon tears, but general manager Mike Rizzo said he suffered a “significant bone bruise” that will keep him out an undisclosed amount of time.

“We go to great lengths with the soil to make sure it’s not wet and there are drying agents on the ground,” Boras said. “I don’t know what technology we apply or the studies that have been done on the composition of having a wet base. That’s certainly something we need to look into. This injury was directly related to inclement weather and a player putting his cleat on the bag and it slipping across because the surface was slick.

“In the NBA, when a player hits the floor and there’s perspiration on the floor, they clean it up immediately so the surface isn’t slick. In baseball, we have no one cleaning the bags between innings during inclement weather. Is there observation as the game goes where they would stop and make sure the bag is dry? We don’t do that. We don’t take measures like that for player safety that could easily be accomplished by the grounds crew and the umpires’ observations.”

Harper, 24, is a five-time All-Star and a candidate for National League Most Valuable Player this season. He is eligible for free agency after the 2018 season, and there has been speculation that he could fetch a contract in excess of $400 million on the open market.

If Harper’s scare focuses attention on bases as…

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