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Check out Matt Szczur’s painting for Tom Ricketts


Padres outfielder Matt Szczur spent the first three-plus seasons of his major league career with the Cubs, winning the World Series with them in 2016. The club traded him to the Padres in May last year.

Szczur apparently has a gift for painting and put brush to canvas for Cubs owner Tom Ricketts. Check out this masterpiece, via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat:

That’s a pretty cool gift. One I’m sure Cubs fans wish they could also get their hands on.

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.