PHILADELPHIA — After thinking it over for a few days, Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper accepted an invitation from New York Mets third baseman David Wright to participate in the 2013 Home Run Derby.
Harper will become the first Nationals player ever to participate in the event, which will take place Monday, July 15 at Citi Field in New York.
Asked about the event prior to the Nationals’ game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday evening, Harper said he was still undecided about joining Wright’s team. Major League Baseball announced the teams just before 6:30 p.m. on Monday evening, though, and Harper was included.
Wright is the captain of the National League team, which also includes Rockies outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer. The American League team, captained by Yankees second baseman and former Home Run Derby champion Robinson Cano, will include Orioles slugger Chris Davis and the Detroit Tigers’ Prince Fielder. Cano has not selected his fourth teammate yet.
Harper, who has 13 home runs in 175 at-bats this season despite missing 31 games with bursitis in his left knee, will become the second-youngest player to participate in the event. Only Ken Griffey Jr., who was 20 years, 230 days old when he took part in 1990, was younger than Harper, who will be 20 years, 269 days old on July 15.
Harper will be making his second appearance in the All-Star game, voted by the fans this year to start in the outfield after replacing Giancarlo Stanton on the 2012 roster.
Hubie Brooks (1986), Larry Walker (1992), Henry Rodriguez (1996) and Vladimir Guerrero (2000) are former Expos to have taken part in the event.
The Nationals already have two All-Stars on the 2013 team with Jordan Zimmermann joining Harper. Shortstop Ian Desmond is a candidate in the Final Vote competition but he was in fourth place at the first voting update at midday on Monday.
Desmond could still make the team as an injury replacement, even if he falls short in the Final Vote. Right-hander Stephen Strasburg could also be in contention for a spot if any of the starting pitchers who pitch Sunday are deemed ineligible, or there is an injury.