"No chance" Flores plays before end of spring

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Jesus Flores headshot.jpgThat’s what Jesus Flores told Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider when asked if he’d be ready to appear in a game before the end of the spring.

Flores is currently rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery and has only progressed to playing catch from 120 feet. As the Grapefruit League schedule begins, he’s understandably deflated:

“It’s really frustrating,” he said. “I wish I could play. But I have to
make sure I’m 100 percent first. I don’t want to play half the season
and then get injured again.”

Flores, 24, got off to a tremendous start last season, .311/.382/.522 with four home runs and 15 RBI over his first 90 at-bats, but suffered a stress fracture in his right shoulder in May. He tried to give it a go in September, but only had three at-bats before undergoing season-ending surgery on his labrum and elbow.

With Flores sidelined indefinitely, now we’ll get to find out if the Ivan Rodriguez signing was the head-scratcher everyone thought it was this winter. Sounds like it might be a while.

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.