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Harper planning to be in 2018 HR Derby

Nats outfielder said he'll compete if he makes NL All-Star team
MLB.com @DKramer_

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper said he plans to compete in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby in his home confines at Nationals Park on July 16, but on one very specific, and potentially uncertain, condition: He'll only take part if he's named a National League All-Star.

"So count me in for the Derby if and only if I make the team," Harper said in a text message to the Washington Post on Friday. "But if I do I will be a participant in the 2018 HR Derby."

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Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper said he plans to compete in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby in his home confines at Nationals Park on July 16, but on one very specific, and potentially uncertain, condition: He'll only take part if he's named a National League All-Star.

"So count me in for the Derby if and only if I make the team," Harper said in a text message to the Washington Post on Friday. "But if I do I will be a participant in the 2018 HR Derby."

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Harper's participation in the marquee event has been an intriguing possibility, as Harper hasn't taken part in the Derby since his sophomore season in 2013, when he reached the final round and finished as runner-up to Yoenis Cespedes at Citi Field. Because the event this year will be held in Washington -- which was announced during his NL MVP Award-winning season in 2015 -- Harper has mentioned over the past three years that he'd likely make his Derby resurfacing this year.

Harper was in second among outfielders in the NL All-Star ballot update that was released by Major League Baseball on Monday, though he fell behind Braves right fielder Nick Markakis after topping all outfielders in the first ballot update. Harper has struggled to a .213/.352/.469 line through the first 2 1/2 months of the season, but he does lead the NL with 19 homers.

Many slugging superstars, such as the past two Derby champs, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, have said that they will not participate this year, leaving some urgency for Harper to compete.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper