Brett Anderson close to facing hitters for first time since Tommy John surgery

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Here’s some good news for a promising pitcher.

Brett Anderson told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he’s scheduled for a light bullpen session tomorrow in preparation to face hitters Friday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last July.

Anderson expects to face hitters two or three times before going on a minor league rehab assignment. He’ll likely need the entirety of his 30-day rehab window to get ready, so he projects to join the Athletics’ rotation by mid-August if all goes well.

Anderson was emerging as one of the game’s best young left-handed starters prior to the surgery, posting a 3.66 ERA through 62 major league starts. The 24-year-old is under contract for $5.5 million next season while the A’s hold club options for 2014 and 2015.

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.