Tag:Bryce Harper
Posted on: July 20, 2011 10:04 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 11:05 am

Pepper: Harper struggles early in Double-A

By Matt Snyder

Bryce Harper is the top prospect in all of baseball. He has prodigious power and a huge outfield arm. Low-A ball proved no match for him this season, as he hit .318 with 14 home runs, 46 RBI, 19 steals and a .977 OPS in 72 games before being promoted to Double-A. But he's still only 18, and is having a rough transition to Double-A.

Through 10 games, Harper is hitting .171 with a .237 on-base percentage and has yet to record an extra-base hit (Nationals Journal). He also looked overmatched at the Future's Game. So what does this mean?

Not a damn thing.

He's 18. Making the transition from the lower levels of the minors (Rookie ball, Low-A, High-A) to the upper levels (Double-A, Triple-A) is the toughest transition for a player this side of when they hit the majors. He even skipped a level. Plus, 10 games is hardly a representative sample from which to draw conclusions and he started slow in Low-A. It's possible he tears up Double-A pitching starting next game.

If we can say anything definitively, maybe it's that this is good for the fans clamoring for a quick Harper promotion. He's going to be special in a Nationals uniform, just not in 2011 and probably not 2012 either.

NOT SATISFIED: After trading Tuesday night for infielder Jeff Keppinger, Giants general manager Brian Sabean said he was working on "something much bigger" before the move and that he's not done making an effort to improve the badly flawed offense (Extra Baggs).

GMs ON HOT SEAT: Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports breaks down some general managers who may be out of a job by the time we turn the page to next season. The ones he lists on the hot seat are Ed Wade of the Astros and Jim Hendry of the Cubs. I'd argue pretty vehemently both should be canned immediately, so no shock there. Also of intrigue, Rosenthal says Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Rays GM Andrew Friedman might step away from their current posts. It would be interesting to see how quickly each is snatched up by other teams.

TROUBLE ON THE HOMEFRONT? Before Tuesday night's loss to the Padres, the Marlins had won nine of their last 10 games, but not everyone was happy. Left-handed reliever Randy Choate was pulled from the game Monday after falling behind 2-0 to a hitter. Yes, in the middle of an at-bat. Considering Choate had struck out 23 lefties and walked just before the game, he felt his track record should at least allow him to finish the hitter. McKeon disagreed and yanked him, saying he was "out of sync." The two reportedly talked, but Choate was still upset. (Fish Tank blog)

IRRELEVANT NO-TRADE CLAUSE: Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano told reporters he didn't even know he had a no-trade clause. Then he said he'd be willing to waive it if it meant he could play for a contender. Of course, Soriano is owed about $61 million through 2014 and considering his age, how quickly he has regressed and his current level of production, there's pretty much no way anyone is giving much for him. The guess is he's stuck in Chicago -- and, for the record, Soriano did say he was happy in Chicago and wanted to win there. (Chicago Sun-Times)

BEDARD'S RETURN DELAYED: Erik Bedard's return from injury has hit a snag, and he'll be pushed back. He's likely going to need a simulated game before thinking about a rehab assignment. This is big news, because we're approaching the trade deadline and a healthy Bedard was likely to be a pretty solid trading chip for the Mariners. He still might go, but his injury history will be a sticking point for potential suitors. (Seattle Times)

BLYLEVEN ON Twins: Bert Blyleven will be enshrined in Cooperstown this weekend, as a new member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. MLB.com has a lengthy story in which Blyleven reflects on his time with the Twins. One thing that jumped out at me is how Blyleven was drafted out of high school and promoted to the majors after just 21 starts and at the age of 19. If that happened nowadays, how much would we have to hear about the Twins "rushing" him to the bigs? Just something to think about.

IKE'S SEASON STILL IN QUESTION: Earlier Tuesday, a story about Ike Davis saying he feared he was done for the 2011 season broke, but then later Tuesday he changed his tone a bit. There's still a question on if he'll be able to get his ankle healed and make it back on the field, but Davis wasn't ready to rule anything out: "I'm not throwing the towel in," he said (ESPN New York). "I'm going to do everything I can to get healthy. And if I don't, I can't really do anything. My body is just not right. I'm working hard and I want to get back on the field."

ANOTHER RIPKEN: Cal Ripken Jr.'s son, Ryan Ripken, is going to play in the Under Armour All America Baseball Game at Wrigley Field next month. The young Ripken hit .353 as a junior this season and the first baseman is fielding scholarship offers from several colleges. Fortunately, Cal is not pushing his son to baseball, saying he just wants Ryan to do whatever makes him happy (Associated Press).

HOMETOWN DISCOUNT: Padres closer Heath Bell is one of the biggest names being thrown around in trade talk, but he's actually willing to take a "hometown discount" to stay in San Diego. The problem is, he's not likely to have that choice. The Padres are in rebuilding mode, and he's their most attractive trading chip. (Sports Radio Interviews)

TEAM FOR SALE: The Dodgers aren't the only team in financial danger out west, as the Padres' Triple-A affiliate will be put up for sale if plans for a new stadium aren't finalized soon. There were plans for a 9,000-seat stadium in Escondido, but the funding for the stadium is now unavailable in the new state budget. Padres CEO Jeff Moorad said he is still holding out hope that things get worked out before the end of the year. (SignonSanDiego.com)

WANG BACK SOON: Nationals starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang is scheduled to make one more Triple-A start before joining the majors (Adam Kilgore via Twitter). For more on Wang's return to the majors, check out my short article from this past weekend.

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 6:45 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 6:48 pm

Bauer wins Golden Spikes Award

Trevor BauerBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Trevor Bauer, the third overall pick in last month's MLB Draft, won the Golden Spikes Award as USA Baseball's top amateur player on Friday.

The right-hander went 13-2 with a 1.25 ERA in 16 starts for UCLA this season nd also led the country with 203 strikeouts. The 203 strikeouts was a Pac-10 record, eclipsing the mark set by USC's Mark Prior.

He's been compared to Tim Lincecum because of his unorthodox mechanics, but he's bigger than the Giants' ace.

Bauer was one of three finalists for the award, along with Texas right-hander Taylor Jungmann and Virginia lefty Danny Hultzen. Jungmann was drafted 12th overall by the Brewres and Hultzen went second to the Mariners.

The last 10 winners of the award were Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Buster Posey, David Price, Lincecum, Alex Gordon, Jered Weaver, Rickie Weeks, Khalil Greene and Prior.

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Posted on: July 10, 2011 10:30 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 12:58 pm

Harper goes 0 for 4 at Futures Game

By C. Trent Rosecrans

PHOENIX -- In what amounted to the biggest stage of Bryce Harper's young career, he went 0 for 4 and left the go-ahead run at second base. His team won anyway, but Harper didn't have his best showing.

It was, however, just an exhibition. Here's what he had to say about his performance in Sunday's Futures Game at Chase Field in Phoenix, which is part of All-Star weekend.

Here's some video taken before the game of his batting practice:

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Posted on: July 10, 2011 8:58 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 12:58 pm

3 Up, 3 Down: Futures Game

By Matt Snyder

PHOENIX -- Hey, we're here, might as well earn our keep. Here's a 3 Up, 3 Down for the Future's Game, which was played Sunday night in Chase Field between most of the game's best up-and-coming prospects. The U.S. team beat the World team 6-4 after taking control with a three-run eighth.

U.S. second basemen. How about some production from the middle of the infield? Jason Kipnis, who isn't far away from joining the Cleveland Indians, led off the first with a home run to right off Julio Teheran, which is no small feat. When Kipnis left the game, Grant Green (A's organization) took over and didn't miss a beat. Green clubbed a pair of doubles, scoring once and driving in one, winning the Larry Doby MVP Award for the game. Eight total bases in four at-bats from second basemen isn't too shabby.

Jarred Cosart (Phillies organization) and Brad Peacock (Nationals organization). In the small sample size of one inning -- no pitcher threw more than one all game -- these were the two most impressive pitchers. Both had efficient, 1-2-3 innings in which they made the opposing hitters look off-balance.

Jurickson Profar (Rangers organization). Of all the impressive things we saw Sunday in Chase Field, Profar's triple ranks among the best. He crushed a ball into the right-center gap and just glided into third base. The speedy shortstop was rounding second base before an outfielder touched the ball and, had there been a bobble or anything, Profar would have scored. This kid can fly. And he's only 18.

Bryce Harper (Nationals organization). Harper looked overmatched against Teheran in the first inning, striking out looking on a 95-mph heater on the black. Of course, it's possible that's the best pitcher Harper has ever seen as he was only recently promoted to Double-A. Teheran has made two starts in the bigs this year. Harper grounded out to first base in each of his next two at-bats and then struck out -- following two straight doubles from his U.S. teammates -- in the eighth. Defensively, Harper made a huge throw home on a double -- showcasing his rocket arm -- but it was ill-advised. He had no shot at cutting the lead runner down and the back-side runner advanced an extra base. Hitting the cut-off man would have been the right move. In fairness to Harper, he's still really young (18), even for this game, but it was not a great showing.

Kelvin Herrera (Royals organization). The 21-year-old reliever has dominated in both High-A and Double-A this season, but Sunday was a different story. The U.S. bats got hot against Herrera, and he had to be pulled before his inning was complete. Grant Green and Tim Beckham doubled back-to-back to tie the game at four. Harper's strikeout and a fly out to shallow center meant Herrera had a chance to get out of the inning with only limited damage, but then things got ugly again. Austin Romine singled and Nolan Arenado doubled to chase Herrera from the game. His final line: 2/3 inning, four hits, three earned runs, three doubles and the loss.

Drew Pomeranz (Indians organization). He's only in Class-A, so it's possible Pomeranz was just a bit overmatched, but the World team really knocked him around the yard. He gave up a single, two-run homer, walk and double. The homer, walk and double all came with two outs, too. Pomeranz ended up being charged with all four runs the World team scored.

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Posted on: July 8, 2011 10:15 am
Edited on: July 8, 2011 1:09 pm

Pepper: @DatDudeBP leads MLB tweeters

By C. Trent Rosecrans

CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to talk about Derek Jeter, but also notes these games against the Yankees are not just big for Jeter's chase of 3,000 but also vital for the Rays. There's also the Braves-Phillies series, but Danny points out why that may not be as big of a series.

TWITTER 140: Our own @JamesonFleming put together the sports world's top 140 Twitter users and the Cincinnati Reds' Brandon Phillips (@DatDudeBP) comes in as baseball's best Twitter user.

Phillips didn't start using Twitter until this offseason, but has embraced the technology, holding contests for fans and also taking suggestions on restaurants and off-day activities. Earlier this season, a teen asked Phillips to come to his baseball game on a day the Reds were off, and Phillips stopped by. He also sent a pair fans to spring training and then another pair to San Francisco for the Reds' games at AT&T Park.

He has even won over some Cardinals fans, an amazing feat considering Cardinal nation's distaste for the Reds second baseman, who last year used not-so-nice words to describe Tony La Russa's club.

Florida's Logan Morrison (@LoMoMarlins) is fourth on the list and the second baseball player. Brewers closer John Axford (@JohnAxford) is the third MLB player in the Top 10.

LAST ONE THE TOUGHEST: George Brett told the Associated Press he thought the last hit would be the toughest for Derek Jeter in his quest for 3,000. Of course, Brett reached the mark with a four-hit game. Brett also said he wasn't sure how many more players would reach the milestone.

"Is that desire still going to be there when they're worth $250 million when they're 37 years old?" Brett said.

GOTTA BE THE SHOES: Jeter will be wearing special shoes for his 3,000th hit, and you can get a matching pair. Yahoo!'s Big League Stew has all the details on the details of the shoes.

JETER'S BALLS: One more Jeter entry -- a look at the special baseballs that MLB will use to try to track Jeter's 3,000th hit. [BizofBaseball.com]

CARDS LOCK UP GARCIA?: There are reports from the radio station partially owned by the Cardinals that say the team has reached a four-year deal with two option years with left-hander Jaime Garcia. The deal would cover all three arbitration years and one year of free agency for the 25-year-old Garcia. He's 8-3 this season with a 3.23 ERA and is 22-12 with a  3.07 ERA in his career. [MLB.com]

HARPER STILL TOPS: Baseball America released its Midseason Top 50 Prospects List, and the Nationals' Bryce Harper leads the list, followed by Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Rays' lefty Matt Moore.

ALL-STAR SWITCH: Royals right-hander Aaron Crow may have made the All-Star team as a reliever, but Kansas City manager Ned Yost sees the team's former first-rounder as a starter down the line, as soon as next spring. [MLB.com]

DOCTOR MAY NAME NAMES: Canadian Dr. Anthony Galea has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of bringing unapproved drugs into the United States to treat athletes, and he may be pressed to give the names of athletes he treated and gave illegal drugs. Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran of the Mets are among the players who have been treated by Galea in the past. [New York Times]

BORAS SPEAKS AT SABR: Super-agent Scott Boras talked of his love of baseball at the Society for American Baseball Research's annual conference on Thursday. Boras talked about his first superstar -- a cow on his family's farm. [Orange County Register]

SCHILLING TALKS PEDS: Former All-Star Curt Schilling went on a Philadelphia radio station Wednesday and said that no "team in the last 20 years that's won clean." Schilling said he thinks the recent decline in offensive numbers are because of MLB's testing policies. [SportsRadioInterviews.com]

NO TAPE MEASURE NEEDED: Ever wonder how they calculate home-run distances so quickly? There's a chart, of course, but how is that chart made? Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has that story.

CRADLE OF MANAGERS: The Kansas City A's didn't produce a lot of wins, but they did produce their fair share of managers. Tommy Lasorda, Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog, Joe Morgan (not the Hall of Famer, but the former Red Sox manager), Dick Williams, Hank Bauer, Dick Howser and Tony La Russa all played for the A's in KC. Two of the game's more successful coaches, Dave Duncan and Charlie Lau, also played for the A's during their stint in Kansas City. [Joe Posnanski]

SLUGGER EMPATHY: Twins designated hitter Jim Thome said it wasn't his place to comment on Adam Dunn's struggles, but said he did empathize with the struggling Chicago DH. "As a guy who swings and misses and has struck out a ton, it's hard," Thome told the Chicago Tribune. "When you can have success and are blessed to play a long time and [then go through] those periods, it's tough."

NO STARS FOR ALL-STARS: Major League Baseball has added stars to the uniforms of All-Stars, but apparently the designations are purely optional, as the Cardinals' three All-Stars declined to take part to keep their uniforms uniform. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

STARLING UNDECIDED: The Royals took a gamble when they picked prep outfielder Bubba Starling with the fifth overall pick in last month's draft, as Starling is also a top-flight quarterback committed to Nebraska. Starling told the Kansas City Star he hasn't decided whether he's going to play football for Nebraska or sign with the Royals for millions of dollars. Starling said he's going to Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday and will work out with the team, but won't enroll in classes for the summer.

SAVES RECORD: You need more evidence they keep stats for everything? Braves closer Craig Kimbrel has set the record for most first-half saves by a rookie. Kimbrel's 27th save Thursday broke the record of 26 set by Boston's Jonathan Papelbon in 2006. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

LAWRIE PROGRESSING: Just before he was scheduled to be called up in May, Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie suffered a broken hand after being hit by a pitch. Lawrie began hitting off a tee earlier this week, and he's improving. The team doesn't expect him to be able to play in games until August. [MLB.com]

ROYAL SHAME: The Royals have once again taken the cheap route in their tribute to the Nergro Leagues, ditching the vintage uniforms. While there are many good signs for the Royals' future, this is a reminder that David Glass is still the owner. [Kansas City Star]

MYTHBUSTER: Scientists are using a lab at Washington State to measure some baseball physics. Among the findings, corked bats don't work, humidors do, and the balls from 2004 performed the same as a ball from the late 70s. [Popular Mechanics]

REMEMBERING BUDDIN: Former Red Sox shortstop Dan Buddin died last week. He's remembered mostly for not being very good -- he averaged 30 errors a year and didn't hit very well, either. A really good remembrance by FanGraphs.com's Alex Remington on the man Boston booed.

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Posted on: July 6, 2011 10:02 am
Edited on: July 6, 2011 3:54 pm

Pepper: Harper was 'bored' in Class A

What is the latest with Jon Lester? What will the Yankees get out of the return of Phil Hughes? Tony Lee of NESN.com joins Lauren Shehadi to answer those questions and more.

By Evan Brunell

BORED: Bryce Harper admitted he was "bored" in Class A in a CSN Washington interview, as the Washington Post recaps. The 2010 No. 1 pick said he had developed bad habits over his last 20 games with Hagerstown. Those 20 games represent 25 percent of Hagerstown's entire season.

“Those last 20 games, I was really, you know, really not too focused,” Harper said. “You know, I was wanting to get out of there, doing things that I shouldn’t have been doing. And once I got [to Harrisburg Monday night], baseball was fun again. It was a lot of fun being out here, being in this kind of crowd, this type of atmosphere. You know, that’s what you live for.”

Harper hit .318/.423/.554 in 72 games for Hagerstown before the promotion and had 14 home runs. On one hand, it's understandable that Harper got bored with the level as the 18-year-old really didn't have much left to prove. One could also argue the Nationals shouldn't have left him in Hagerstown so long. Even a high-Class A promotion could have sparked Harper's interest. On the other hand, it's a sobering revelation that Harper fell into bad habits because he was bored. Again, he's only 18 and was playing in Class A, so no sweeping proclamations should be made here that would follow Harper for the rest of his career. But unless he matures in this area he could face sticky situations in the future. What if Harper, expected to be a perennial MVP candidate in Washington, gets bored after his second MVP award, falling into bad habits and tailing off? What if the Nationals aren't contenders? Will this be Zack Greinke all over again?

Harper did say that he won't pressure Washington for a promotion to the majors, but he also didn't publicly lobby for a promotion out of Class A and instead got bored over his last 20 games. The outfielder has said in the past that he hopes to reach the majors by the end of the year, but GM Mike Rizzo has already flatly ruled out any big-league promotion.

“I’m gonna let them make that decision,” Harper said. “I’m not gonna force the issue or anything. I’m just gonna go out and I’m gonna play my game like I can. ... I’m here right now, and we’re trying to win a championship here. That’s what I want to do.” (Washington Post)

HUGHES IS BACK: Phil Hughes is finally back and will start for New York on Wednesday. After a mysterious loss of velocity that saw him placed on the disabled list after just three starts on the season, Hughes' velocity has returned and he's ready to move on. "It's not like I'm towards the end of my career; I knew I have a few good years left in me," Hughes said. "I figured it didn't just go away, that something had to be up. That's why I went and got it checked out. And ever since I took that rest and the cortisone, it's been a different story." Hughes will be facing Cleveland and Justin Masterson at 7:05 p.m. (New York Daily News)

: A car burglar stole an Apple iPod in a town outside of Chicago. There were also two tickets to a Cubs game in the car, but the burglar passed. Ladies and gentlemen, your Chicago Cubs! (Chicago Tribune)

: The Cubs better just pack it in, right? That's what Gordon Wittenmyer writes, noting that no club has ever come back from 16 games below .500 to eventually reach October. The Cubbies are now at 17 games under. (Chicago Sun-Times)

TICKETS RISING: As Derek Jeter chases hit No. 3,000, Yankees tickets on the resale market have spiked. On June 29, you could have gotten a July 9th ticket for an average price of $117. Now, it's all the way up to $188. (BizofBaseball.com)

SOX ON THE HUNT: In a TV interview with NESN, Theo Epstein admitted that the Red Sox were eyeing trading for a "complementary" position player (likely a right-handed backup outfielder), feeling that the pitching depth is strong enough, as WEEI transcribes. Epstein also notes that Lackey is running out of time to turn his season around, and his rotation spot would be in danger if he continues to pitch poorly. (WEEI)

DELAYING PINEDA: The Mariners are trying to figure out a way to delay Michael Pineda's second-half debut to keep his workload light, but it all depends on whether he gets elected to the All-Star Game. Teammate Felix Hernandez pitches Sunday, so is ineligible to play in the All-Star Game. If Pineda is named as Hernandez's replacement, he will likely not pitch until June 19 in Toronto, which would be his 10th day of inactivity, All-Star Game excluded. (Seattle Times)

BEDARD CLOSE: The Mariners expect to have Erik Bedard back shortly after the All-Star break. Bedard is having a fine comeback season but just landed on the 15-day DL. While the M's haven't set their rotation in stone, it's looking like Bedard will be healthy enough to return during the Texas series that begins the second half of the season.

BATTERED: Brian Matusz was one of the Orioles' best pitchers last year. This year? After missing the start of the season with an injury, he was rocked to the tune of a 8.77 ERA in six starts, earning a demotion to Triple-A. Alas, his first start down there went just 5 2/3 innings, coughing up four runs. (Baltimore Sun)

GARLAND DONE: The end of the season for Jon Garland is here, as he will undergo shoulder surgery with an expected recovery time of six months. That means the impending free agent has an outside shot at breaking camp next season. (Los Angeles Times)

ADVICE, PLEASE: For Toronto's minor leaguers in Lance Durham and K.C. Hobson, their travails through the minor leagues are affected by the fact they are the son of a major leaguer (Leon and Butch, respectively). These players lean on their dads for advice as they fight to reach the majors. (Slam! Sports)

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Posted on: July 4, 2011 10:57 am
Edited on: July 4, 2011 12:44 pm

Harper headed to Double-A

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Bryce HarperBryce Harper, the game's top prospect, has been promoted to Double-A, the Nationals announced.

Harper dominated the low-Class A South Atlantic League, hitting .318/.4232/.554 with 14 home runs in 72 games and 305 plate appearances for Hagerstown. He will skip high-Class A Potomac, reporting to the organization's Double-A affiliate in Harrisburg, Penn.

"This is a developmental issue," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters, including Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com. "We're happy that he progressed as much as he did in that league and showed us that he could handle top-flight velocity and breaking pitches and that type of thing. We feel he's ready to take the next step. This was a plan I had in my mind for a long, long time." 

Harper is just 18 and nearly four years younger than the next-youngest player on the Senators, catcher Derek Norris (22). Norris was born in February 1989; Harper's birthday is Oct. 16, 1992. Harper is more than 11 years younger than Senators lefty (and former Mets scapegoat) Oliver Perez, the team's oldest player at 29.

Harrisburg begins a four-game homestand tonight.

Goessling said Rizzo denied the Nationals skipped high-Class A Potomac of the Carolina League because the team is unhappy with ownership about the condition of the team's facility, Pfitzner Stadium. 

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Posted on: June 28, 2011 12:22 am

Bryce Harper sitting out some games in Class A

By Evan Brunell

HarperBryce Harper has played in just three of five games for the Class A Hagerstown Suns since the All-Star break, but it's not because of his sore left thumb.

That thumb caused Harper to pull out of the Home Run Derby and also limited his activity in the All-Star Game, but the main reason for not playing is because Washington wants to give the No. 1 overall pick from 2010 a break.

"It's the first time this kid has played baseball day, after day, after day in his life," Nationals director of player development Doug Harris told the Washington Times. "So we're just giving him a blow."

Harper has gone 2-for-12 in those three games and is expected to return to full-time duty at some point over the next few games. He will represent the Nationals along with one other (Brad Peacock) in the Futures Game during major-league baseball's All-Star Game.

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Category: MLB
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