by Chris Lingebach

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Bryce Harper is not only ready to put the Nationals shortcomings in 2013 behind him, he’s setting his sights on the ultimate collective prize in 2014 — the World Series.

He arrived at spring training in Viera, Fla. physically ready to accomplish his personal goals — speaking with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier about his offseason regimen that was completely devoid of lower body workouts — which for him, at least publicly, begin and end with winning.

Manager Matt Williams says Harper is on the verge of “taking that final step” he needs to take in becoming a superstar in Major League Baseball.

Harper remains focused on the ultimate prize.

“Coming into this year, I really want that World Series ring,” he said on 106.7 The Fan.

“I really want the ring,” he repeated. “And to go into this year, with a great team and a great organization – that, one through nine, our lineup is absolutely stacked, one through five in our pitching staff is unbelievable, and we got a great manager in Matt Williams – so we’re very excited about this year, and I’m ready to go in and do the things I need to do to help this team win, and take control.”

When prompted, Harper also took a moment to address his decision last season to play through the pain, in the face of team personnel insisting he have early season surgery to repair a damaged Bursa in his left knee.

“I’ll probably never do that again. I mean that really hurt me,” Harper admitted. “I probably should have been done in April, and just got the surgery done and been back for the last two months of the season, and went into the offseason strong and came back stronger than ever.

“But there’s nothing I can do about that. You don’t want to look in the past, you’re always looking for right now – so coming in every single day, it’s nice to be able to know that I’m not in pain.”

One thing Harper has never lacked is focus, and as he looks forward, he seems to be devoting the entirety of it on bringing a championship to Washington, D.C. in 2014.


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