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Harper deserves to be All-Star

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Harper deserves to be All-Star

The notion was first offered about two weeks ago, and it's since picked up considerable steam. There remain 17 days until Major League Baseball announces its 2012 All-Star teams, but let's just say this now for the record.

Bryce Harper deserves to be an All-Star.

And not simply as a token publicity stunt to boost ratings. No, he truly deserves to be named an All-Star.

Start with the raw numbers. Following a monster road trip to Boston and Toronto, Harper now boasts a .303 batting average, seven homers, 19 RBI, a .384 on-base percentage, a .548 slugging percentage and a .933 OPS in 41 games with the Nationals.

The only statistical argument going against Harper is that he hasn't played in enough big-league games yet. And that's true. But he's going to play in a lot more before the Midsummer Classic rosters are announced July 1. In fact, he's on pace to amass enough plate appearances to qualify for league leaderboards in the next 7-to-10 days.

If you've played enough to qualify for the batting title, you've played enough to qualify for the All-Star Game.

And once he does qualify, Harper is going to find his name littered all over the National League offensive leaderboards. His current numbers would rank in the top 10 in on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS.

Harper's merits, though, extend far beyond the numbers. His defensive play has been superb, especially for a rookie who has been asked to bounce between all three outfield positions since he debuted. His baserunning skills and overall hustle have been lauded from every corner of the sport.

Harper's ability to learn on the fly, meanwhile, are second to none. Is there any hitter in baseball -- no matter the age or experience level -- who is able to make in-game adjustments the way Harper does? In his first at-bat against an opposing starter, he's hitting a solid .273 with a .375 on-base percentage and .809 OPS. In his second at-bat against those same starters, he's hitting an incredible .419 with a .500 on-base percentage and 1.468 OPS.

All of that makes Harper worthy of a trip to Kansas City come the second week of July.

But if you needed any more convincing, here it is, plain and simple: Harper right now is the best everyday player on one of the best teams in baseball. Shouldn't that by definition make him an All-Star?

Harper is far from the only deserving player off the Nationals' roster. For the first time since it arrived in town, this franchise merits at least three (perhaps more) All-Stars, with co-aces Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez at the top of the list. Cases can also be made for Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson, Tyler Clippard, Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche.

But with each passing day, it becomes more and more obvious that Harper has as strong a case as anyone for an All-Star berth.

Not because of his star power. But because he truly deserves to share the field with baseball's very best.

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Harper gets ejected before Nationals offense explodes in win over Brewers

Harper gets ejected before Nationals offense explodes in win over Brewers

WASHINGTON -- Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Lind each had two-run doubles in a seven-run eighth inning to help the Washington Nationals rally past the Milwaukee Brewers 8-5 on Wednesday night.

Bryce Harper was ejected for arguing with home plate umpire Chris Segal after striking out in the eighth inning with runners on the corners. Harper's single in the first inning extended his hitting streak to a career-high 18 games.

Tied 2-2, Zimmerman immediately picked up his fellow All-Star by lacing a liner into the right field corner. All-Star Daniel Murphy's homer pulled Washington within 2-1 in the seventh.

Jimmy Nelson struck out 10 and allowed one run and four hits in seven innings plus a batter. Jacob Barnes (3-2) entered with a 2-1 lead and surrendered two runs and two hits while recording only one out.

Ryan Madson (1-0) tossed one scoreless inning for the win.

Nelson exited after walking Matt Wieters leading off the eighth. Brian Goodwin's double off Barnes put two runners in scoring position with one out. After Wilmer Difo's single through the right side of the infield drove in the tying run, Harper faced reliever Josh Hader. Two pitches after visibly disliking a called strike, Harper struck out swinging. He slammed his bat to the ground and went nose-to-nose with Segal for his second ejection of the season.

Washington had six hits including four doubles in the eighth. Pedro Severino's RBI double put Washington up 8-2.

Murphy's homer ended a stretch of 17 1/3 scoreless innings for Washington.

Gio Gonzalez surrendered two runs on five hits and had eight strikeouts for Washington.

Santana's first inning blast, estimated at 476 feet, landed on the concourse beyond the left field stands.

Harper finished 1 of 4 and is batting .416 (30 for 72) during his streak. The All-Star also reached base safely in his 26th consecutive game, matching his career-best.

Milwaukee recalled Lewis Brinson from Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he was hitting .345 with 10 homers and 43 RBIs. He hit .097 in 31 at-bats last month with the Brewers in his only previous major league action. He homered on Wednesday night for his first in the majors.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Brewers: RHP Matt Garza (4-5, 3.83 ERA) was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Sunday with a lower right leg strain. Garza said he was optimistic he would miss only one start.

Nationals: Manager Dusty Baker did not have an update on whether RHP Stephen Strasburg would make his next scheduled start, but said the Nationals were taking a big picture approach. Strasburg left Sunday's appearance after two innings with forearm pain that doctors later diagnosed as a nerve impingement. Washington entered Wednesday with an 11 game lead in the NL East. . The Nationals reinstated OF Ryan Raburn from the bereavement list and promptly placed him on the 10day DL retroactive to July 23 with a left trapezius strain.

UP NEXT

Brewers: RHP Michael Blazek (0-0, 0.00) takes Garza's place in the rotation for the 12:05 p.m. first pitch. It is Blazek's first career start after 108 relief appearances since 2013.

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (11-5, 2,26) allowed five runs and three home runs in his previous start at Arizona on July 21.

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Logo for 2018 MLB All Star Game in D.C. revealed

Logo for 2018 MLB All Star Game in D.C. revealed

The Washington Nationals will host the 2018 MLB All Star Game next July.

On Wednesday, the team officially released the logo for the event.

This will mark the fifth time the All-Star Game has been held in D.C., with the last one dating back to 1969 at RFK Stadium. 

RELATED: SHOULD FANS PANICK OVER STRASBURG INJURY?

The logo clearly incorporates the Washington Capitol surrounded by a patriotic red, white and blue theme. 

One of the biggest things to look forward to is Bryce Harper participating in the Home Run Derby.

Harper has avoided participating in the competition in recent years but has committed to playing when the event is in D.C.