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Bryce Harper appears on ironic mag cover after benching for lack of hustle (pic)

Despite the Bryce Harper dealing with a nagging tightness in his quad, skipper Matt Williams yanked the Washington Nationals lineup during the seventh inning of Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals for what the manager characterized as a “lack of hustle” and the “inability to run 90 feet” after putting the ball in play during a sixth inning at-bat.

“We made an agreement,” Williams said via The Washington Post. “He and I made an agreement. This team made an agreement that when we play the game, that we hustle at all times, that we play the game with intensity and the willingness to win.”

Harper admitted watching a rally come up short in the ninth inning was “tough to watch” as his turn in the batting order came up with him on the bench, but said he “absolutely” understood Williams’ decision.

“I respect what he did,” Harper said afterward. “It’s part of the game.”

On Sunday, in an amusing display of irony, Harper appeared on the cover of “Inside Pitch,” a program available at Nationals Park during the team’s home games.

The headline? “Nothing But Hustle.”

Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?

Harper did return to the starting lineup during Sunday’s game after his in-game benching Saturday, going 1-4 in the team’s 3-2 win.

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