Yu Darvish throws for first time since Tommy John surgery

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Yu Darvish won’t be able to help the Rangers as they attempt to secure a Wild Card spot in the American League, but here’s some good news as we look toward 2016.

Darvish underwent Tommy John surgery back in mid-March, so he’s about five months into his recovery. There’s still a long way to go, but the hope is that he’ll be ready to rejoin the Rangers’ rotation early next season. With Cole Hamels now in the fold, that could be quite the 1-2 punch.

Darvish, who just turned 29 on Sunday, owns a 3.27 ERA with 11.2 K/9 over his first 83 starts in the majors.

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.