Nationals would let Bryce Harper play in All-Star Game

sp-nats_0011372715050_image_982wBefore Bryce Harper landed on the disabled list last month, he seemed like a lock to make the National League all-star team. Harper still merits consideration, of course, and fans may vote him in as a starter – he ranks fourth among outfielders in the fan vote, only about 15,000 votes behind third-place Justin Upton.

If Harper makes the team, whether as a starter or reserve, the Nationals would face a decision. Should they allow Harper to test his banged-up left knee in an exhibition? Today, Nationals Manager Davey Johnson answered in the affirmative.

“It’s a great honor,” Johnson said. “I think you go. He’s well-rested. He needs some more at-bats.”

The Nationals do not believe it would pose a risk to Harper’s health if he played in the Midsummer Classic. Harper returned from the disabled list night in the Nationals’ 10-5 victory over the Brewers, launching a home run in his very first at-bat.

Last year, Harper made the All-Star Game as a 19-year-old rookie despite not getting called up to the majors until late April. Harper’s numbers are better across the board this season. Among NL outfielders with at least 180 plate appearances, Harper ranks second in slugging (.597). fourth in on-base percentage (.387) and ninth in  home runs (13).

Harper could make the team if he gets voted in by managers, players and coaches, and he has at least one supporter – Johnson said he used his ballot to vote for Harper.

In the fan vote, Harper also trails Carlos Beltran and Carlos Gonzalez.

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