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#pounditThursday, December 8, 2022

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. makes decision on Home Run Derby

Vladimir Guerrero Jr in a hat

Feb 17, 2020; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) looks on during spring training at Spectrum Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is tied for the 10th-most home runs in MLB this season, but the Toronto Blue Jays star will not be showcasing his power-hitting abilities during this year’s Home Run Derby.

On Tuesday, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reported that Guerrero declined an invitation to participate in the event during All-Star festivities at Dodger Stadium this summer. Guerrero apparently doesn’t want to risk re-aggravating the left wrist soreness he dealt with throughout May.

“My wrist is fine right now but I’ve got to be careful — there are too many swings in a home run derby,” Guerrero said Monday through interpreter Hector Lebron. “I don’t want to take a chance that my wrist gets hurt again and it gets bad and I won’t be able to help the team win, which is what we’re trying to do here. I don’t want to risk it.”

Guerrero’s caution is warranted. He already participated in one derby in 2019 and lost to New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso despite hitting 91 total home runs. Guerrero missed last year’s event to help keep himself fresh for the second half of the season. That certainly seemed to work, as the 23-year-old finished second in American League MVP voting after hitting .311 and leading the majors with 48 home runs and 123 runs scored.

Entering Tuesday, Guerrero’s 18 home runs placed him in a tie with New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton for the sixth-most in the American League. In May, Guerrero hit .217 with three homers and eight RBI in 26 games while dealing with wrist soreness. In June, he’s hitting .300 with nine home runs, 21 RBI and a 1.011 OPS in 25 games entering Tuesday.

With his wrist feeling better and his production heating up, it’s easy to see why Guerrero passed on the derby.

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