Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams was not happy with questions Wednesday about whether struggling outfielder Bryce Harper might be sent to the minor leagues.

Harper sat out 57 games earlier this season after surgery on his left thumb and has only three home runs and 14 RBIs in 52 games. Since coming off the disabled list, he is batting .214 and has just three hits in his last 24 at-bats.

"Generally, if you have young players, that's what you do," Williams said. "But this guy is a special young player."

Harper was 0-for-4 at the plate with three strikeouts Tuesday night against the New York Mets, but Williams bristled at the suggestion that he would even consider sending Harper down.

"I would caution everybody in this room: The minute you think you can read my freaking mind, you're sorely mistaken," Williams said. "It ------ me off to even think about, that somebody would take a comment I made on the radio and infer I am thinking one way or another. I've had it. Don't do it anymore.

"Bryce Harper is one of the guys on our team, he's a very important part of our team. Just like everybody else is. Do we understand each other?

"It's not fair to the kid, it's not fair to the rest of the guys in that clubhouse to even think about sending Bryce Harper to the minor leagues, or to cause a stir. It's unacceptable. It won't happen."