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:

Houston’s Yordan Alvarez leaves game with ankle discomfort

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Houston slugger Yordan Alvarez left the Astros’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fifth inning with left ankle discomfort.

Alvarez, who is tied for second in the American League with 37 home runs, rolled his ankle running out of the box on a single in the first inning.

He looked to be in some pain as he jogged to first base and was checked on briefly by manager Dusty Baker and a trainer before remaining in the game. Serving as the designated hitter, he struck out in the third inning before being replaced by pinch-hitter David Hensley for his at-bat in the fifth.