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Bryce Harper will participate in 2018 Home Run Derby at Nationals Park

Bryce Harper said he will “definitely” participate in the 2018 Home Run Derby if he’s an all-star. (Jerry Lai/USA Today Sports)
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MIAMI — Bryce Harper will cede the stage Monday night to Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, sitting out baseball’s annual Home Run Derby in favor of a seat as a fan. But during the annual All-Star Game media day, he reaffirmed his commitment to the event next season — when it will be held at his home field, Nationals Park.

“Absolutely, I’m going to do it — if I’m an all-star,” Harper said. “If I make the team, then I’ll definitely do it.”

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Harper, 24, has been an all-star in five of his first six major league seasons. He last participated in the derby in 2013, when the All-Star Game was held at New York’s CitiField. He didn’t make the all-star team in 2014, then sat out the derby in 2015 in Cincinnati and again last year in San Diego.

But he said he made up his mind that he would participate in the 2018 contest, when he watched Todd Frazier, then of the Reds, win the event at his home park two summers ago.

“That was awesome,” Harper said. “To see Frazier do it, with all his home fans there, that’s when I knew I would do it if I had the chance in Washington.”

Monday’s derby is perhaps the most anticipated in recent memory given the participation of Judge, the New York Yankees’ slugging rookie, and hometown star Stanton of the Miami Marlins, who won the event last year.

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