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Bryce Harper denies impending free agency is cause of prolonged slump

Bryce Harper is in the midst of one of the most prolonged slumps of his MLB career. But the Washington Nationals slugger refuses to blame his struggles at the plate on any stress or pressure related to his looming free agency.

Harper met with Nationals manager Dave Martinez during Thursday’s three-hour rain delay of an eventual 4-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. His slump was a primary topic of conversation.

“I’m like, ‘I don’t think about it,’” Harper said of the conversation and whether impending free agency was possibly the cause of his struggles, via The Washington Post. “I really don’t. Me, personally, it doesn’t really bother me.”

Instead, Harper believes his struggles are solely related to baseball issues.

“The past couple weeks, I’ve just chased out of the zone a little too much,” Harper said. “The biggest thing I see in myself is really just swinging at pitcher’s pitches. There’s times where I’m on the corner and a strike is called, and then I chase something else and dig my own hole. I’ve got to work to get my pitches to hit.”

Harper’s slump has gone into a downward spiral since entering June. Hitting .213 on the season, Harper’s batting average has plummeted to .148 this month, although he does lead the National League with 19 home runs.

And those who choose to speculate that impending free agency has Harper pressing?

“Everybody’s got an opinion,” Harper said. “Whatever they want to think.”

Harper insisted during spring training that he would not entertain any questions concerning free agency and has largely done so despite the media’s best efforts. Instead, Harper is locked in one and only thing.

“We have one goal: win the World Series,” Harper said. “That’s all I care about.”