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Athletics designate Brandon Moss for assignment

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The Athletics designated infielder/outfielder Brandon Moss for assignment, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday. The roster spot was cleared to make room for left-handed reliever Jairo Labourt, whom the A’s claimed off waivers from the Reds.

Moss, 34, returned to Oakland in a trade for Jesse Hahn and Heath Fillmyer back in January, and was hoping to latch onto the Opening Day lineup this spring. He’s coming off of a down year, one in which he batted just .207/.279/.428 with 22 home runs and a .707 OPS in 401 plate appearances for the Royals. That made his $7.25 million price tag all the less appealing to the A’s, who were expected to offload him shortly after finalizing the trade.

Now, Moss tells the Chronicle, he’s seriously considering entering retirement if he can’t find another major league gig this season. “I totally understand the situation here. They had to get me to get a guy they really needed,” he said Sunday. “That’s baseball, that’s the way it works. But if I get cut, I can play by my own rules, I don’t have to do anything, and I won’t. If another team doesn’t pick me up, I’ve had a good career, more of a career than I ever thought I’d have.”

Should Moss decide to hang up his cleats for good, he’ll finish his 11-year career with a lifetime .237/.314/.452 batting line, 160 home runs, and 8.8 fWAR for the Red Sox, Pirates, Phillies, A’s, Indians, Cardinals and Royals.

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.