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NATIONALS: Bryce Harper Selected To Play In All-Star Game

By ZAC BOYER | | @ZacBoyer

WASHINGTON – Bryce Harper had planned to go home to Las Vegas this coming week for his first prolonged rest after becoming a Major League Baseball player.

“I told him his vacation is over,” Davey Johnson joked Saturday afternoon.

Harper, the Washington Nationals’ 19-year-old rookie centerfielder, was selected by National League manager Tony LaRussa to play in the annual All-Star Game on Tuesday, thereby making him the youngest position player ever to participate in the event’s 79-year history.

“I’m excited,” Harper said after the Nationals defeated Colorado 4-1 on Saturday at Nationals Park, appearing more shell-shocked than moved. “I really am.”

The outfielder, recalled from the minor leagues on April 28, was supposed to have only a short stay with the Nationals as other players recovered from injury. He has instead hit .283 with a .355 on-base percentage and a .475 slugging percentage, and he has eight home runs, 25 RBIs and 43 runs in 62 games.

Harper was selected to replace Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, who will not play in the game because of a right knee injury. Earlier in the day, the Nationals announced shortstop Ian Desmond would also miss the game because of a sore left oblique, and Atlanta’s Michael Bourn replaced him.

Pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg will also represent Washington in the game, which will be played in Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium. The four selections for the Nationals mark the most the team has had since moving to Washington in 2005 and the most for the franchise since the Montreal Expos’ Moises Alou, Wil Cordero, Darrin Fletcher, Marquis Grissom and Ken Hill made the team in the strike-shortened 1994 season.


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