Reward for 1st MLB HR? A big hug from Harp

September 26th, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- got the ball from his first big league home run on Saturday. It helped that it landed in the trees in front of the batter’s eye at Citizens Bank Park.

Vierling also got a nice big bear hug from Bryce Harper after he crossed home plate.

“I was just going to give him a high five,” Vierling said. “He was like, ‘Come here, give me a hug.’ It was a pretty special moment, pretty cool.”

Vierling has been an unexpected but significant contributor since he rejoined the Phillies on Aug. 31, following short stints in the big leagues in June and July. He entered Sunday’s series finale against the Pirates batting .357 (20 for 56) with three doubles, one triple, one home run, four RBIs and a .903 OPS. He has been hitting the ball hard almost every step of the way. He has put 40 balls in play this season. The average exit velocity on those balls is 92.0 mph, which ranks 32nd out of 565 players (minimum 25 balls in play).

“I put a lot of it into my routine and talking with our hitting coaches, just talking with all of them,” Vierling said about hitting the ball hard. “The preparation before the game. Maybe just the way my swing works, if I catch the ball on the barrel it allows me to hit it hard. When I’m going really good that always seems to happen. Just trying to be on time and just trying to be super slow when I load and everything like that, and right now it’s going pretty good. I just keep preparing the way I prepare and see how the results turn out.”

Vierling did not start on Sunday, but he figures to be in the lineup plenty in the Phils' upcoming six-game road trip.

“I’m just trying to keep everything in front of me,” Vierling said. “Just play my game and not try to make it more than it is. I think that’s the best thing I can do because I think it’s pretty cool what we have going on.”

Ashburn and Montgomery Special Achievement Award
The Phillies honored Christine Negley as their Richie Ashburn & David Montgomery Special Achievement Award winner before the game. The award is presented annually to a Phillies employee who “demonstrates the same loyalty, dedication and passion for Phillies baseball as did the award’s namesakes.” Negley has worked for the Phillies for 30 years, most of that time spent in the communications department. She has been the club's director of publications since 2016.