Doug Fister expected to resume throwing Thursday

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Nationals right-hander Doug Fister battled elbow inflammation for much of spring training and then suffered a lat strain on March 27, forcing him to a season-opening disabled list stint. He is aiming to join Washington’s rotation around early May and currently appears to be on track to reach that goal.

According to beat writer Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Fister is expected to resume throwing on Thursday — first with light tosses from 60 feet on flat ground before eventually moving on to bullpen sessions and minor league rehab starts.

Fister was acquired this offseason from the Tigers in exchange for infielder Steve Lombardozzi and left-handers Ian Krol and Robbie Ray. He had a cool 3.67 ERA in 208 2/3 innings last summer with Detroit.

Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan both opened the year in the Nats’ rotation because of Fister’s injury.

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.