Andy Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez making progress

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Good news here for the AL East-leading Yankees.

Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports that third baseman Alex Rodriguez underwent a checkup X-ray on his left hand Thursday and told reporters Sunday that everything looked “A-OK.”

“Waiting now, just have to wait it out,” A-Rod said. “There’s nothing I can do but wait it out now.”

If all continues to go smoothly with his rehabilitation, Rodriguez should be back on the Yankees’ active roster near the end of August. He fractured the fifth metacarpal in his left hand when he was hit by a pitch in late July.

Veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte is also making steady progress. He’s now riding a stationary bike, doing pool workouts and throwing lightly in a cage without feeling any lingering discomfort in his once-fractured left ankle. The 40-year-old is aiming to return to the Bombers’ rotation at some point in September.

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.