PHILADELPHIA - Not only is Bryce Harper going to be a starter in the All-Star Game, he’ll also be participating in the Home Run Derby the previous night.
Harper has accepted Mets third baseman David Wright’s offer to take part in the National League team for the Home Run Derby, joining Wright and the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer.
The American League team will be made up of the Yankees’ Robinson Cano (who is the AL captain), the Orioles’ Chris Davis and the Tigers’ Prince Fielder.
Cano has yet to select the final member of his team.
Even with only playing in 51 of the Nationals’ 88 games coming into today, Harper still has 13 homers on the season. He comes into today with a .274 average and .549 slugging percentage.
Harper is the first Nationals player in franchise history to participate in the Home Run Derby.
The Nats have said they’re open to Harper taking part in the Home Run Derby despite the fact that some participants in the past have followed up with rough second halves. There’s a thought that taking so many home run cuts can throw off a hitter’s swing and knock his mechanics out of whack, but the Nats aren’t concerned about that with Harper.
“It ain’t gonna mess with his swing,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said yesterday.
It turns out the All-Star break won’t be much of a break for the 20-year-old Harper. Although, as Johnson has joked a few times over the last couple weeks, Harper did get to rest for over a month while on the disabled list due to left knee bursitis.