Bryce Harper torn between All-Star Game and vacation

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Bryce Harper’s chances of going to next week’s All-Star Game got a lot better when fellow Final Vote candidate Chipper Jones was named to the team today. Still, he wouldn’t mind missing out and going home to Nevada for a few days.

“I’m excited to go home,” he told the Washington Post. “If I don’t make the team, I think it’d be good for me to go home, get away from the world and be Bryce, be normal, just hang out with the family and get some good home-cooked meals and hit with my pop and just hang out.”

One imagines Harper is thinking about Swag. No, not all of the All-Star goodies he’d miss out on, but the puppy his parents gave him for Christmas that’s still at home in Nevada.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson also said he wouldn’t mind seeing Harper miss out on the game, partly because the 19-year-old has been nursing a sore back. Johnson added that he hasn’t gone to MLB.com to vote for Harper.

“I go online for a lot of things and that’s not one of them,” he said.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.