Report: Sosa tested positive in 2003

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The New York Times is reporting
that Sammy Sosa is one of the 104 players on the list of those who
tested positive for performance-enhancing substances in 2003.

Sosa joins Alex Rodriguez as the only players to have their names
leaked from the list. According to the Times, the lawyers who had
knowledge of Sosa’s inclusion on the 2003 list did not know the
substance for which he tested positive.

Sosa has long been linked to steroids without their being any actual
evidence fingering him. Besides the obvious increase of power as his
career went along, he also had a corked bat incident working against him. Plus, he didn’t want to pee in a cup for Rick Reilly.

Sosa has repeatedly denied using steroids. He did so in front of the
House Government Reform Committee in March 2005, when he joined Mark
McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and others in speaking on baseball’s PED
problem. “To be clear,” he said, “I have never taken illegal
performance-enhancing drugs. I have never injected myself or had anyone
inject me with anything.”

The timing of the leak is interesting, given Sosa’s recent comments
on waiting to be elected to the Hall of Fame. ESPNDeportes reported
early in the month that Sosa, who last played with the Rangers in 2007,
would soon officially announce his retirement from baseball.

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

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Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.

Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.

Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.