Jorge De La Rosa cleared for rehab assignment

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Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd told season ticket holders back in June that Jorge De La Rosa was unlikely to pitch this summer. But things are suddenly looking up for the left-handed starter.

According to beat writer Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, De La Rosa is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday evening with the Rockies’ rookie-league affiliate in Grand Junction, Colorado and could be cleared to rejoin the big league rotation a week or two later.

De La Rosa has been on the shelf since undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery in June 2011. The 31-year-old carries an $11 million player option for the 2013 season and is sure to exercise it.

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.