by Chris Lingebach

WASHINGTON — All season long, Nationals fans may have noticed Bryce Harper has picked up a new habit.

No, not hitting home runs at a Barry Bonds-like clip. Rather, a substance tucked inside his lip. But Harper is Mormon, one who, publicly to this point in his career, seemingly has adhered to his faith’s prohibition against alcohol, coffee and tea, drugs, and tobacco.

So what is this?


(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Before the second game of the Nats’ doubleheader against Toronto on Tuesday, Harper took a selfie in right field with a fan’s phone, and the fan later posted that selfie on social media.

That close-up garnered the attention of 106.7 The Fan morning show The Sports Junkies, who asked Matt Williams about it during the Nats’ manager’s weekly radio appearance the following morning.

“It appeared like he was taking a dip,” John-Paul Flaim noted. “Is he a dipper now?”

“No, no,” Williams said. “That is all herbal.”

“Is it?” Eric Bickel said.

“Yeah, he doesn’t do [tobacco],” Williams said. “But, that herbal stuff is available as an alternative to chew tobacco. Yeah, that’s herbal stuff. So nobody needs to worry about that. Yeah, he’s perfectly fine. And doing well, so if he wants to put herbs in his mouth, I’m good with that.”

Burke and Herbert “Fan Question of the Week”

Q: How do you spend your time between doubleheaders, like yesterday?

A: “Yesterday, it’s tough on a split doubleheader, because you have so much time in between games,” Williams said. “So, like with you guys, after the game I meet with the media and do the post-game summary. And then I’ve got to do the pre-game radio show for the second game, because we do a radio manager’s report before every game.

“So I do that, and then grab something to eat, work on the second game’s lineup, look at who we’ve got available in the bullpen. Luckily, yesterday’s second game, we had everybody available because Jordan [Zimmermann] and Drew [Storen] pitched so well. So do all of that and then get prepared for the second game.

:All the stats are provide, we work on those and look at our matchups for who’s pitching and try to create the best lineup we can to go out there and win that game No. 2. For all intents and purposes, for the first few innings we had everything going right, and it didn’t quite work out for us. But that’s how time is spent. Three hours goes pretty quickly when you’re doing all that stuff.”

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