Harper explained the decision by saying that he wanted to maintain his current routine with the Nationals and that participating in the derby would not feel right without his father, Ron, pitching to him again. Ron Harper pitched to Bryce in the 2013 derby when he finished second, but recently had rotator cuff surgery following a snowboarding accident. In May, Harper said he was considering skipping the derby because his father was still recovering from the surgery.
“I probably won’t be able to do it this year, because he’s my guy,” Harper said in May about his father, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Harper’s 25 home runs are tied for second in baseball with the Angels' Albert Pujols, behind the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton, who has hit 27 home runs but underwent surgery to repair a broken left wrist in June and was given a recovery window of four to six weeks.
Harper’s .347 batting average is also third in baseball entering Monday.
The 2015 Home Run Derby is July 13 at the Reds’ Great American Ballpark. The All-Star Game will be played the following night.
- Mike Fiammetta