Shaun Marcum threw a 30-pitch simulated game yesterday, reporting no problems after what Mike Still of MLB.com calls “a major step in his recovery from right elbow soreness.”
Marcum was shifted from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list last week, which means he’s not even eligible to return until next week. And he’s unlikely to be ready by then anyway, as the Brewers haven’t scheduled a minor-league rehab assignment yet.
If healthy Marcum likely would have been traded along with Zack Greinke last month, but the impending free agent’s elbow injury and history of arm problems put the Brewers in a tough spot. It’s possible he could return in time to make or two starts before August 31, allowing the Brewers to potentially make a late deal for him that brings back a little value, but he hasn’t pitched since June 14.
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.