The spectacle of Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton swinging for the Kauffman Stadium fountains in the Home Run Derby won’t be happening. That’s a bummer. But 19-year-old Bryce Harper will be going to Kansas City for the All-Star Game in his place. That’s pretty neat. He’s not exactly a clown replacement — even though he does become the third-youngest All-Star in history (after Dwight Gooden and Bob Feller) and the youngest position player.
Stanton has been playing with pain in his right knee for some time and will return to Miami to have arthroscopic surgery to clean up reported “loose bodies.” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen expects Stanton to miss 4-6 weeks recovering — which stinks for Miami as it tries to hang in the playoff race. Stanton, hitting .284/.364/.554 with 19 homers, was hoping to put off the surgery until after the season. He’s only 22 years old. There will be more All-Star opportunities.
Harper lost out to David Freese of the Cardinals in a recent online vote for the “final” NL All-Star spot, but was picked by manager Tony La Russa to replace Stanton. Harper, batting .283/.357/.479 with eight homers and eight stolen bases, seemed ready to take a break after the first half wraps up Sunday. He could have gone home to Las Vegas, visited with the folks, maybe practiced for a firefighter exam. Instead, he’ll be playing more baseball.
Harper won’t be in the Home Run Derby, though; Matt Kemp added Andrew McCutchen to the NL squad. He joins Carlos Gonzalez and Carlos Beltran on the NL side. Robinson Cano, Mark Trumbo, Prince Fielder and Jose Bautista will swing for the AL.
In other injury replacement news, Michael Bourn of Atlanta — who also fell short in the final vote — will replace Washington’s Ian Desmond, who will rest an oblique strain. Desmond is expected to continue to play through the weekend for the Nats, though.