Drew Stubbs on track to rejoin Reds on Monday

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Drew Stubbs began a minor league rehab assignment last night with Class A Dayton as he continues to make his way back from a strained left oblique.

Stubbs, who has been sidelined since June 5, went 0-for-2 and played five innings in center field. The speedy 27-year-old later told Mark Clements of MLB.com that he didn’t feel any discomfort with the oblique.

“No soreness, no pain during the game or anything like that,” Stubbs said. “Taking two weeks off, from any game action, you never know how you’re going to feel stepping in and getting back in the flow of the game. I felt really comfortable, like I haven’t really missed a beat.”

The current plan is for Stubbs to play seven innings today and a full nine-inning game tomorrow before coming off the disabled list for Monday’s game against the Brewers.

Stubbs is hitting .235/.300/.373 with seven home runs, 18 RBI, 13 stolen bases and a .673 OPS over 53 games this season. Chris Heisey is currently holding down starting center field duties, but he’ll move back into a platoon with Ryan Ludwick in left field once Stubbs returns.

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.