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Bryce Harper won’t compete in Home Run Derby: ‘I just don’t care for it’

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Bryce Harper may have made it his quest to “Make Baseball Fun Again,” but that will have to be accomplished without him competing in the Home Run Derby.

The Washington Nationals slugger announced he would not take part in the power-hitting showcase at the upcoming All-Star Game at Petco Park in San Diego. Why? Because quite simply, he doesn’t want to.

“I just don’t want to, plain and simple,” Harper said Tuesday of the Derby next week, via ESPN’s Eddie Matz. “I just don’t really wanna do it. I just want to enjoy my time, sit on the side and watch it a little bit.”

Harper similarly declined to participate in last year’s Home Run Derby as well, but that was because his father, who would have served as his pitcher in the competition, couldn’t participate due to injury.

Harper, who made his sole appearance in the Home Run Derby in 2013 when he finished runner-up, also lamented over how the Home Run Derby can be exhausting.

“I don’t know about draining,” he said. “Definitely it’s a lot of swings and what not. Yeah, you could say draining — why not? But it’s just, I don’t know, I don’t want to go out there and swing and swing and swing, I guess.”

Harper, who has 17 homers this season but has seen his power numbers (.397 slugging percentage since May 1) — not to mention his batting average (.258.) — take a precipitous drop after enjoying a torrid stretch of slugging in April.

While this year’s Derby is out of the question, Harper didn’t rule out competing in the event in the future, perhaps as soon as next year. But the most likely scenario would Harper being a definite participant in 2018, when the All-Star Game will be played at his home ballpark in Washington D.C.