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Harper voted All-Star starter in record-breaking fashion

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Harper voted All-Star starter in record-breaking fashion

By Rich Dubroff
CSNwashington.com

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.

MORE NATIONALS: HARPER JUST AS SURPRISED BY USWNT GOALS AS YOU WERE

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

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Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

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@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.