I wrote recently that Justin Morneau has been totally healthy this season, but it turns out that’s not entirely true.
He’s been free of any post-concussion symptoms and has been in the lineup just about every day, but LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Morneau got a cortisone shot for a neck and shoulder injury last week.
Morneau’s season totals are still ugly, but since getting the injection on May 12 he’s 10-for-27 (.370) with a homer, three doubles, and a 1.026 OPS in seven games. Prior to that stretch he hit just .214 with one homer and a .591 OPS in 30 games.
Asked about the neck and shoulder problems, Morneau told Neal that he felt “good enough” following the shot.
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.