A’s sign Philip Humber to minor league contract

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Matt Eddy of Baseball America reports that the Athletics have reached agreement on a minor league contract with right-hander Philip Humber.

Humber became a free agent on October 3 when the Astros made the easy decision to decline his $3 million club option for the 2014 season. The 30-year-old posted a 7.90 ERA in 54 2/3 innings (mostly as a reliever) this past summer for Houston.

Humber, who threw a perfect game as a member of the White Sox in early 2012, received an invitation to spring training from Oakland but will likely struggle to crack the Opening Day bullpen.

The former first-round pick has a 5.31 career ERA in 371 major league innings.

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.