Hisashi Iwakuma out 4-6 weeks with finger injury

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Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, who finished third in the Cy Young voting last season, is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a finger injury sustained while working out at home last month.

Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that Iwakuma suffered a strained tendon in the middle finger of his throwing hand. The good news is that it won’t require surgery. The bad news is that he’s at least three weeks from doing any throwing and his status for Opening Day–and perhaps much April–is very much in question.

Iwakuma was fantastic last season, throwing 220 innings with a 2.66 ERA and 185/42 K/BB ratio, and the Mariners have him under contract (cheaply) through 2015.

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.