The Washington Times - July 2, 2013, 06:00PM

Despite the fact that he missed 31 of the Washington Nationals’ previous 32 games entering Tuesday, the Nationals would be fine with letting Bryce Harper play in the All-Star Game at Citi Field on July 16 if he is selected.

Harper, who returned from the disabled list on Monday and hit a home run in his first major league at-bat in 35 days, was among the top three vote-getters — which would’ve secured him a starting spot — among National League outfielders until this week. 


When the latest voting update was released on Tuesday morning, Harper had been bumped to fourth in the fan vote, trailing third place by less than 16,000 votes with two days to go until the polls close. 

But Harper could be selected to the team anyway, via player vote or manager’s selection. Manager Davey Johnson, who will serve as a coach on San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy’s staff, said Tuesday that he voted for Harper on his ballot. 

If he is selected, the Nationals will have to decide if they feel he is physically up for it. 

Johnson said that, despite the bursitis in his left knee that kept Harper on the disabled list for 31 games, he would have no problem with him playing in the mid-summer classic. 

“I think it’s a great honor,” Johnson said. “I think you go. He’s well-rested. Get him some more (at-bats).”

Harper entered Tuesday night’s game with a .287 average, .387 on-base percentage and .597 slugging percentage. He has 13 homers and 21 extra-base hits in 45 games. 

In the latest update, the top three vote-getters in the National League in the outfield were Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez and Justin Upton.