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.

Jonny Venters is back in the majors

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The Rays announced on Wednesday that the club purchased the contract of lefty reliever Jonny Venters from Triple-A Durham. The 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 due to a continuous battle with arm injuries. The Rays note that he has undergone two and a half Tommy John surgeries, which is a number that seems to be in dispute.

Venters signed a minor league contract with the Rays in December. With Durham so far this season, he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

Before the injuries, Venters was among the best relievers in 2010-11. In those two seasons, he posted a combined 1.89 ERA with 189 strikeouts and 82 walks in 171 innings.