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Scherzer vs. Sale to start All-Star Game

(AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) By the time Bryce Harper gets to the plate at the All-Star Game, Max Scherzer could already be done.

Harper is batting sixth in his fifth All-Star start, the lowest he has been in the National League lineup since the No. 9 spot in 2013. Scherzer getting the start against Boston's Chris Sale is no surprise as the hometown ace, but Harper faces a much different dynamic knowing this could be the final time he's honored on a big stage by Nationals fans when he trots out to center field on Tuesday night.

In a contract year that could be his last with Washington, Harper is hitting .214 with a .365 on-base percentage, .468 slugging percentage, 23 home runs and 54 RBIs. That batting average is 60 points lower than the next-closest NL All-Star hitter, while his HR total is one shy of the league lead.

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Machado rumored to be traded over break

WASHINGTON (AP) Manny Machado could very well be wearing an Orioles uniform for the final time Tuesday night at the All-Star Game.

The pending trade of the Baltimore shortstop is expected to happen soon, probably before the Orioles return following the break to play in Toronto on Friday night.

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Clark favors wild-card playoff series

WASHINGTON (AP) Baseball players are open to extending the designated hitter to the National League and to expanding the winner-take-all wild-card playoff to a multi-game series. Management has little interest.

The American League has used the DH since 1972, and there has been more discussion among fans and media of expanding it to the NL.

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Union striking if certain rules changed?

WASHINGTON (AP) Major League Baseball wants a broad discussion with players about rule changes to combat decreased offense and longer games, an initiative likely to be met by a testy union stung by declining free-agent prices and already raising the possibility of a work stoppage after the 2021 season.

Commissioner Rob Manfred and players' association head Tony Clark outlined their differing agendas during separate sessions with the Baseball Writers' Association of America before Tuesday night's All-Star Game.

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Cubs fans, gamblers imply Harper cheated

WASHINGTON (AP) The Latest on baseball's All-Star Game (all times local):

7:20 p.m.

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DeGrom wants to talk contract with Mets

WASHINGTON (AP) The Latest on the All-Star Game (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

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Altuve, Betts bring compact pop to ASG

WASHINGTON (AP) In decades past they would have been given nicknames like "Pee Wee" and coached to shorten their swings, keep the ball close to the ground, find holes and use their speed to leg out base hits.

Now, "small ball" has a new meaning. This homer-happy era of baseball is proving that big sluggers can be found in in tiny packages.

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1952 Mantle card goes on display

DENVER (AP) The "Holy Grail" of baseball cards, a pristine 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle valued at several million dollars, was delivered to the History Colorado Center on Monday via armored truck for a 72-hour public display.

"I want the community to enjoy looking at the card," said its owner, retired lawyer Marshall Fogel of Denver. "It's the finest card ever made, and it just happens to be my favorite player, Mickey Mantle."

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Bucs rally in 10 to sweep 5 from Brewers

PITTSBURGH (AP) One late-inning rally wasn't enough for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Trailing and down to their final out on two occasions, the Pirates managed a 7-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers that gave them the first five-game sweep in the majors in nearly a dozen years.

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