Carlos Zambrano yields seven runs, leaves with stiff back

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Marlins righty Carlos Zambrano entered Saturday’s start against the Rays with a superb 2.81 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. By the time his 2 1/3 innings were done, his ERA was 3.55 and his WHIP was 1.18.

Big Z surrendered seven earned runs on five hits and three walks to Tampa Bay before exiting in the third inning with stiffness in his lower back.

Beat writer Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel says Zambrano was wearing an ice pack in the clubhouse at Marlins Park before he took the mound, so perhaps the Fish should have seen this one coming. And it’s safe to wonder whether they’ll now be forced to place the 31-year-old starter on the 15-day disabled list.

Zambrano missed a little over two weeks last season with the Cubs because of back discomfort.

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.