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The All-Star Game: The latest

Altuve, Bergman, and the other stuff

July 16, 2018 - 5:04 pm

WASHINGTON (AP + Brad Wright) — The Latest on the All-Star Game:

5 p.m.
Dark clouds have rolled over Nationals Park on a hot and humid afternoon, and the grounds crew is poised to cover the field with a tarp as storms threaten the All-Star Game festivities.

Forecasts called for isolated storms in the Washington area in the hours leading up to Monday night's Home Run Derby.

Thunderstorms are also predicted for Tuesday afternoon, but if the forecast holds, they should move out of town before the first pitch after 8 p.m.
4:15 p.m.
Bryce Harper says defensive shifts are part of baseball, and there's no way for hitters to change their approach in an attempt to beat them.

Harper's agent, Scott Boras, said earlier this month that his client's numbers are down this season in part because shifts hurt left-handed batters more than righties.

Harper is batting .214 — 60 points lower than any other National League All-Star. His 23 homers are one short of the league lead, and he tops the NL with 78 walks. The 2015 MVP becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

Asked Tuesday how he can beat the shift, Harper said: "You can't. If you hit a ball in the hole, then you're out. If you hit a ball up the middle, you're out."

He says one way to exploit a shift is to bunt, "but you don't get paid to bunt. If you hit it over all of them, that's how you beat it."
3:15 p.m.

Jacob deGrom says he'd love to play his entire career with the New York Mets, but he's not disputing comments by his agent that the team should either sign him to a long-term deal or trade him now.

The All-Star right-hander said Monday that his future with the team "is kind of in the Mets' control and kind of out of mine." He says he has not talked numbers with the Mets on a long-term contract but would be open to those discussions.

DeGrom's agent, Brodie van Wagenen, told Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and The Athletic that if the Mets aren't interested in a long-term deal, "we believe their best course of action is to seriously consider trade opportunities now." Van Wagenen added that continuing the status quo "could complicate Jacob's relationship with the club."

DeGrom would be eligible for free agency after the 2020 season, when he'll be 32.
2:50 p.m.
The AL and NL All-Star managers have revealed the pitchers they'll be using immediately after starters Chris Sale and Max Scherzer.

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom will follow Scherzer for the NL. Roberts says he picked Scherzer to start over deGrom because the game is at Scherzer's home ballpark in Washington.

Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch says the New York Yankees' Luis Severino will come in after Sale, followed by the Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell.
2:20 p.m.

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper will bat sixth for the National League in the All-Star Game in his home ballpark.

Harper is hitting .214 with a .365 on-base percentage, .468 slugging percentage, 23 home runs and 54 RBIs. Despite his hitting struggles, Harper is an All-Star — voted in by fans — for the sixth time in his seven-year major league career.

Nationals teammate Max Scherzer will take the mound for the NL as expected, with Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts saying it's good for baseball and for the country to give him the ball. Scherzer (12-5) has a 2.41 ERA and a league-high 182 strikeouts.

Sale and Scherzer are both making their third All-Star starts, joining 13 other pitchers with that distinction. Sale is starting for the third consecutive time and is the third player to do that, following Lefty Gomez and Robin Roberts. Both made their first All-Star starts with different teams — Sale for the White Sox and Scherzer for the Tigers.