Home Run Derby field set: Mariners’ Julio takes on Alonso in Round 1

Jul 5, 2023, 6:09 PM

Seattle Mariners Julio Rodriguez...

Julio Rodriguez competes during the 2022 T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Dodger Stadium on July 18, 2022. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago White Sox All-Star Luis Robert Jr., two-time champion Pete Alonso of the New York Mets and Seattle Mariners slugger Julio Rodríguez are set to participate in baseball’s Home Run Derby in Seattle on Monday.

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Robert earned the top seed in an eight-player field announced Wednesday that includes 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts, Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena, Texas’ Adolis García and Baltimore’s Adley Rutschman. Alonso, who won in 2019 and 2021, will try to join Ken Griffey Jr. (1994, 1998 and 1999) as the only three-time champions.

Robert will go against the eighth-seeded Rutschman (11 home runs) in the first round, with second seed Alonso facing the seventh-seeded Rodriguez (13). Third-seeded Betts (23) meets six seed Guerrero Jr. (13), and fourth-seeded García (21) faces five seed Arozarena (16).

The seeding was determined by home run totals through Tuesday. Tiebreakers went to the player with the most homers since June 15.

“I’m pretty sure I’m going to feel very happy during those two days,” Robert said. “It’s going to be very special for me.”

Robert posted on Instagram hours before the official announcement that he would participate in the Home Run Derby. The Cuban outfielder also was selected to his first All-Star team.

“If he’s happy about it, I’m happy about it,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “It’s a great experience. I remember Salvy (Salvador Perez) doing it over there in Kansas City. He was pretty pumped about it, and he had a really good time.”

Robert and countrymen Arozarena and García are participating for the first time. They will try to join two-time champion Yoenis Céspedes as the only Cuba natives to win the Derby.

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