Harper thought it was one of two things: "I was thinking I was going down because Rizzo and everybody was over there or the All-Star game," he said.
Next stop, baseball's showcase game in Kansas City.
The 19-year-old Harper became the youngest position player to make the Midsummer Classic and third youngest All-Star ever when NL manager Tony La Russa selected the precocious outfielder to replace injured Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
"Words can't explain it right now," Harper said following Washington's 4-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies. "I think it's exciting to go and I'm excited to get there and be around all the top guys in the country, of course, top guys in baseball." Stanton left in the third inning of Miami's 3-2 loss at St. Louis and the Marlins said he would have arthroscopic right knee surgery Sunday, shelving one of baseball's best young sluggers for next week's All-Star festivities.
Desmond has been dealing with a left oblique strain and is going to use the break to rest. He consulted with team doctors, management and La Russa before the decision was made to skip the game.
"It's definitely a tough decision, one that we spent quite a few days kind of mulling over," Desmond said after the Washington Nationals beat the Colorado Rockies, 4-1. "But in the end I think it's best for the team and best for myself to take the rest. I would hate to be two, three weeks down the road and something happened and I didn't take the four days to rest my body and put the team first."