Bryce Harper declines invitation to participate in Home Run Derby

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It’s a bummer that Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton will have to miss the 2015 Home Run Derby due to a broken hamate bone, but now we can also scratch Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper off the list of participants.

According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Harper declined an invitation to participate because his dad, Ron Harper, recently had rotator cuff surgery and isn’t fully healed:

“Not having my dad throw with me, it’s a huge issue for me,” Harper said Monday afternoon before the Nationals’ series opener against the Reds. “I think being comfortable on a stage like that with somebody that I know can throw strikes for me, knows where my sweet spot’s at … you know, that’s huge for me. So hopefully in a couple years he’ll be OK and we’ll see where I go.”

With his dad throwing to him, Harper finished as the runner-up to Yoenis Cespedes in the 2013 Home Run Derby at Citi Field. It’s understandable why he wants to sit this one out.

While it would have been a treat to see Stanton and Harper in the mix, two power-hitting rookies appear poised to rise to the occasion:

White Sox sign José Abreu to a three-year contract extension

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Yesterday the Chicago White Sox made a big signing of a new player, locking up catcher Yasmani Grandal for four years. Today they’ve made another big splash, re-signed current White Sox star José Abreu to a three-year, $50 million contract extension.

Abreu had already accepted the team’s qualifying offer last week so he was ensured of staying in Chicago for 2020, but now they’ll tear that up and replace it with this pact, adding two more years.

Abreu, who turns 33 before spring training, is coming off a 2019 season in which he posted a line of .284/.330/.503 with 33 home runs and 123 RBI. He has spent his entire major league career in Chicago, putting up a line of .293/.349/.513 and socking 179 homers in six seasons.