He may have been the third-youngest player on the Class A Advanced Potomac roster, but Bryce Harper is no rookie.
And when the Major League All-Star homered in the second game of his rehab stint, the crowd of 5,809 at Pfitzner Stadium made its best attempt to sound like he was back at Nationals Park.
"That dude, he's incredible," P-Nats starter Austin Voth said of Harper. "It doesn't get much better than that, to see a Major Leaguer like him hit a homer."
Harper went 2-for-3 with four RBIs in support of the Nationals' No. 16 prospect, who hurled six scoreless innings in Potomac's 10-1 romp over Salem.
"I got in a good hitting count and put some good wood on the ball and let it go a little bit," Harper said of his three-run blast in the fifth that opened a 10-0 cushion. "They have a great lineup, too, so it's a lot of fun to hit behind [Tony] Renda, a guy who can really pick it at second and hit leadoff, so he's pretty dang good."
After undergoing thumb surgery at the end of April, the first overall pick in the 2010 Draft started a weeklong rehab assignment Monday and went 1-for-1 with a walk. Harper, who said the thumb felt good, plans to take Wednesday off before finding out where he will play next.
"Of course, I want to be up there playing in the big leagues, but like I said, I want to stick to my timetable. This is something I need to do," the 21-year-old outfielder said. "If I have good numbers, then I have good numbers; and if I don't, then I don't. It's just nice to be able to come out here and get into some games competitively."
Also rehabbing with the P-Nats, Wilson Ramos went 2-for-5 with two RBIs, one night after he fell a triple shy of the cycle in his first Carolina League game. Recovering from a hamstring injury, the catcher played two games with Double-A Harrisburg before joining Potomac.
"Just him being there and putting down signs is enough for me. He's definitely a guy I want to pitch to in the big leagues," Voth said of his batterymate. "With Ramos behind the plate, he was calling the pitches, I just had to throw to him."
With Major League experience backing him up, the right-hander thrived in his Carolina League debut. He held the Red Sox to two hits and two walks while striking out six.
"I was getting ahead with my fastball with most hitters, mixed up pitches and threw the fastball inside. I just tried to challenge the hitters and let them swing," Voth said. "I felt dominant throughout the whole game until I got to the point where I was walking a couple guys. My command was a little off, I was trying to find the strike zone and it was a matter of hitting my pitches and letting my 'D' make plays."
Voth (1-0), who turns 22 on Thursday, is 4-0 in his last four decisions. After a slow start with Class A Hagerstown, he said he finally found his groove.
"I feel like I have a feel of my command and I go later into the ballgames and I'm hitting my pitches," he said of the turnaround. "Just a matter of me being able to figure out all my pitches and my mechanics. My coaches have helped a lot. It just takes time."
While with the Suns, Voth went 4-3 with a 2.45 ERA in 13 starts to begin his sophomore campaign.
"He's doing well, he looked great," Harper said. "I had no clue who he was, and to be able to see a guy like that come out here and pretty much carve, he did a great job and it was fun to watch."
Salem starter Pat Light (1-4) was tagged for seven runs on 10 hits over 2 1/3 innings.