Craig Heist, wtop.com
WASHINGTON — Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond was scratched from the All-Star game Saturday as he continues to deal with a strained oblique muscle that has been bothering him since mid-June.
Desmond will be replaced on the roster by Atlanta Braves outfielder Michael Bourn. You wouldn't have even known the injury was a concern for Desmond during Saturday's game against the Colorado Rockies as he hit a homer off Jeff Francis in the second inning and then singled in his second at bat, leading off the Nationals' fifth.
Desmond was added to the All-Star roster by Tony LaRussa. But after consulting with team doctors, manager Davey Johnson and GM Mike Rizzo, the decision was made for him to try and rest over the break.
"When I got selected, I thought about it for a while," Desmond said. "Then I talked to Davey and I talked to Riz, and then right after that, the next thing I did was call Tony. I told him how I felt and told him what was going on, and we all kind of came to the same agreement that it would be smart if I just took the time off."
Desmond said he spent several days mulling over his decision.
"In the end, I think it's better for my team and better for me to take the rest," he said. "I would hate to be two or three weeks down the road and [have] something happen, and I didn't take the four days to rest my body and put the team first."
Desmond is hitting .282 with 16 homers, 24 doubles and 49 RBI. While it was a tough decision to not make the trip to Kansas City, Desmond is clearly looking at the bigger picture for this team.
"By no means is this an injury where I'm at home and I'm crippled by any means," he said. "If you sneeze or I'm holding my kid, things like that, I feel it. I just think in the second half, I think it would be nice going into the second half knowing my body is 100 percent healthy, that I can give it all I got for my team and we can make a run at this thing."
On the other hand, after losing out in the fan vote to David Freese of the St. Louis Cardinals this week, Bryce Harper was informed he had been named to the team by LaRussa to replace Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
"When Davey called me over there, I was thinking I [was] either going down because Rizzo and everyone was over there, or it was the All-Star game, so it was a good thing it was the All-Star game," he said. "I'm happy, I really am."
After Saturday's game, Harper is hitting .283 with eight home runs and 25 RBI in 62 games since being called up in late April.
Earlier this week, Harper said he would like to go to the game, but wouldn't mind the mental break to just go home and relax for a few days. He doesn't think the relaxing part will happen now.
"I doubt it," he said. "I think it's all for the fans and it's an exciting time for them and I'm just going to try and take it all in as much as I can and enjoy it as much as I can. It's all for the fans, so you really just try to go in there and enjoy yourself with them and really try to put on a show for them."
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