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Harper voted All-Star starter in record-breaking fashion


Harper voted All-Star starter in record-breaking fashion

By Rich Dubroff

At 22, Bryce Harper is an All-Star starter for the second time. Harper was voted in as a starter for the July 14 game at Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark.

Harper, who named the youngest starter in All-Star Game history in 2013, and was also on the team in 2012, is among the National League leaders in key offensive categories.

He received 13.9 million votes, most in National League history.

“I enjoy being an All-Star. I enjoy being around other guys and just hanging out. I think that’s the best part, being on the field and playing with the guys you don’t every get to play with,” Harper said.

Entering Sunday’s game, Harper was batting .344 with 25 home runs and 60 RBIs. He also has 57 runs, a .470 on-base percentage and .719 slugging percentage.

Harper thanked the fans, his teammates and manager Matt Williams.

“He’s there for me every single day. If I need something on a pitcher or if I’m not feeling right, he’s tries to keep me calm,” Harper said.

“A lot of credit to Ian Desmond. He’s one of the guys that keeps me on an even keel,” Harper said. “He just helps me out on a daily basis.”

Williams returned the compliment.

“For me, the differences I see this year as opposed to last year, he’s patient, he’s calm. The numbers are really good, of course. We’ve all seen that. He’s taken the steps that he wants to take to become the player that he wants to be, naturally,” Williams said.

“I think he’s taken big steps. We saw that last year in the postseason. He’s continued that through the first half of this year. We’re proud of him. He’s zoned into the strike zone and done well for us hitting in the middle of the lineup and our leader.”

Harper has said that he wouldn’t participate in the home run hitting contest the day before the All-Star Game unless his father, Ron pitched to him. The elder Harper recently had rotator cuff surgery.

“I’m not sure yet,” Harper said. “I told them I’d give them an answer tomorrow about that. I’ll see how I feel and what I want to do.”

The pitchers and reserves will be named on Monday night, and Williams said that he’d like additional Nationals on the team.

“I’ve made my feelings known. I’d love to see them there. It’s out of our control, certainly, but we can lobby for our guys. I think they’ve all played hard through the first 81, and will continue to do so till the break. We’d love to see as many as we can there. We want to represented, for sure,” Williams said.


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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

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Former Nats manager Jim Riggleman named interim manager of Reds

Remember Jim Riggleman, the infamous Nats manager that resigned from the position back in 2011 after a win against the Seattle Mariners? Well he's back in a managerial position.

Bryan Price was fired as manager of the Cinncinati Reds Thursday, after the team started the 2018 season 3-15. Riggleman, who spent four seasons as their bench coach, was named the interim manager to replace Price.

Riggleman was promoted to interim manager of the Nats in July of 2009, after Manny Acta was let go midseason. He stayed on as manager for 2010 and 2011, and he then resigned from the team on June 23, 2011 after a win agaisnt the Seattle Mariners. He had lead the team to a win in 11 of their last 12 games prior to stepping away.

The reason behind the dramatic exit was due to the organization not yet picking up his 2012 contract option. He had reportedly requested a conversation with the front office about his future with the organization, and was upset after they declined. At 58 years-old, he felt he deserved more respect.

He's been with the Reds organization since 2012, and has spent time managing the Padres, Cubs and Mariners, in addition to the Nationals. His career winning pct. with each team has been below-.500.


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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

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Nationals fall after Mets score 9 runs in 8th inning

NEW YORK -- Yoenis Cespedes launched a grand slam during a nine-run outburst in the eighth inning that rallied the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 11-5 on Wednesday night, preventing a three-game sweep.

Todd Frazier tied it at 4 with a two-run single and pinch-hitter Juan Lagares put New York ahead for the first time with a two-run double off ineffective setup man Ryan Madson (0-2).

Shut down by Tanner Roark for seven innings, the first-place Mets broke loose in the eighth and improved to 13-4 with a stirring victory against their NL East rivals.

Ryan Zimmerman homered twice, tripled and drove in four runs for the Nationals, who pulled off their own big comeback in the eighth inning of the series opener.

Two nights later, New York returned the favor.

Roark limited the Mets to two hits and left leading 4-2. Michael Conforto, Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera singled off Madson to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. Jay Bruce fouled out before Frazier smacked a two-run single up the middle and advanced to second on the throw home.

After an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases again, pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores struck out. Lagares then lined a two-run double the other way, just inside the right-field line at the outer edge of the infield grass, to put the Mets up 6-4.

Sammy Solis walked Amed Rosario and Conforto to force in a run. Cespedes connected for his sixth career slam -- the third by the Mets already this season -- off A.J. Cole, sending fans into a frenzy.

Both of Cespedes' hits in the inning came on 0-2 pitches.

AJ Ramos (1-1) worked a perfect inning for his first win with the Mets since being acquired from Miami last July.

Howie Kendrick reached on an infield single for Washington in the first and Bryce Harper drew his 24th walk, most in the majors. Zimmerman, batting .121 at that point and struggling to make opponents pay for bypassing Harper, came through with a drive to left-center off Steven Matz for his second home run of the season.

Matz steadied himself after a 33-pitch first inning and retired his final 10 batters. He was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth after throwing 74 pitches.

Cabrera doubled to open the fourth and scored on Gonzalez's single. Zimmerman had a chance to start an inning-ending double play, but his throwing error from first base allowed another run to score on Jose Lobaton's RBI grounder as the Mets cut it to 3-2.

After Mets pitchers retired 16 in a row, Zimmerman's leadoff triple in the seventh got past a diving Bruce in right field, and Moises Sierra followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

Zimmerman also hit a solo homer in the ninth.