Nationals slugger Harper to skip All-Star Home Run Derby

WASHINGTON (AP) Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper won't participate in the All-Star Home Run Derby because his father isn't available to pitch to him.

The Home Run Derby will be held Monday, the day before the All-Star Game in Cincinnati. Harper was the leading vote-getter in fan balloting for NL starters and began play Monday tied for second in the majors with 25 homers.

Harper finished second in the 2013 Home Run Derby with his dad as the pitcher. But his father recently underwent shoulder surgery, so Harper said Monday he will skip the event.

Harper says, ''Not having my dad throwing to me is a big issue for me.'' He says his father ''throws strikes'' and knows where his ''sweet spot'' is.

The outfielder hopes to participate in the future, after his father recovers from the operation.

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