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Pete Alonso to defend his title in the Home Run Derby

Pete Alonso to defend his title in the Home Run Derby

Mets slugger Pete Alonso will defend his title in the Home Run Derby at Coors Field in Denver on July 12, but there won’t be a rematch with the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who chose not to participate.

Alonso announced his participation on Wednesday on his Instagram page. He joins Japanese sensation Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels at the exhibition that will take place the night before the All-Star Game.

“I had so much fun in the first one, so I said, why not do it again?” Alonso acknowledged. “I had a lot of fun and it was a special moment and as long as I have the opportunity, I want to do it. Because it was something I dreamed of since I was a child ”.

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Alonso won the 2019 event at Progressive Field in Cleveland beating Guerrero Jr. 23-22 in the final round.

Guerrero, who shares the home run lead with Ohtani before Wednesday’s games, spoke ahead of the Blue Jays’ game in Miami. Guerrero leads the voting for the All-Star Game and plans to play the game, but indicated that he wants to rest a bit.

“I feel good physically,” Guerrero said. “Everything is going well. There is a long way to go and I want to continue like this ”.

Guerrero has 23 home runs and leads the majors in slugging and OPS. Alonso has 11 home runs and set a rookie record in 2019 with 53, the most in the league.

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The Derby and All-Star Game were canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which delayed the start of the MLB campaign until the end of July.

“I just know it’s going to be a great moment,” Alonso said. “It’s going to be a star-studded derby.”

Alonso’s cousin pitched him two years ago, an experience the New York first baseman called “absolutely surreal.” But he said his pitcher this time around will be Mets bench coach Dave Jauss.

Only two players have won consecutive Derby titles: Ken Griffey Jr. took it in 1998 at Coors Field and then in 1999 at Fenway Park in Boston. Yoenis Céspedes from Oakland won it in 2013 at Citi Field in New York and 2014 at Target Field in Minneapolis.

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Guerrero Jr. said he decided to skip this year’s event after consulting with his father, Vladimir Guerrero, who is a member of the Hall of Fame. (AP)

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