Jaime Garcia could begin a rehab assignment next week

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From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch comes this:

Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia faced hitters Tuesday in Jupiter, Fla., and he could one more workout away from a rehab assignment.

That final workout will happen Friday afternoon and will involve Garcia throwing around 45 pitches. If all goes smoothly, he should make his first rehab start late next week at one of the Cardinals’ Low-A affiliates in south Florida.

Garcia has been sidelined since early June because of a left shoulder strain. The 26-year-old native of Reynosa, Mexico had a pedestrian 4.48 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 51/19 K/BB ratio in 66 1/3 innings before landing on the disabled list. He owns a cool 3.45 career ERA and 1.34 career WHIP.

Assuming no setbacks, Garcia will be back in the St. Louis starting rotation by mid-August.

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.