Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 7/6/13
Bryce Harper is only 20 years old, but he sure acts like he’s older. The Nationals outfielder, who was named NL Rookie of the Year last season, has been lauded over and over again for his incredible ability at such a young age, but rarely, if ever, for anything he does off the field. Now, though, it appears he can. Before Friday night’s game against the Padres, Harper wasn’t spending most of his time hitting BP, hanging out in the clubhouse with teammates, or doing any of the other things major leaguers tend to do during pregame. Instead, the outfielder used his time to be with 13-year-old Gavin Rupp, a Nationals fan who has recently been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer and taken into hospice care. For an hour, up until 45 minutes before the start of the game, Harper, who is Rupp’s favorite player, hung out with the youngster and his family, taking them out on the field to watch batting practice and just talking about whatever in the dugout. Rupp was then given the opportunity to throw out the first pitch to Harper before watching his favorite team beat the Padres 8-5 at Nationals Park. Check out the heart-warming first pitch, as well as a tweet from Harper after the game, below. Your browser does not support iframes. Gavin Rupp is truly an inspiration to me! He is a warrior and will always be in my heart and mind! #HesMyHero http://t.co/WO5qzc3HJ9— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) July 06, 2013

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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