Neither of the two most recent Home Run Derby champions plans to participate in this year’s event.
Aaron Judge, who won the 2017 Home Run Derby, has said for a while that he won’t defend his title at Nationals Park, and his New York Yankees teammate, Giancarlo Stanton, also intends to stay sidelined for next week’s long ball contest.
“I don’t think so. I don’t want to,” Stanton said Sunday, according to the New York Post, of taking part in the Home Run Derby. “I’ve done it plenty of times, take a year off. Take two years off.”
Judge still will be in Washington, D.C., for Major League Baseball’s midsummer activities, as he was voted an All-Star starter by the fans. Stanton wasn’t named an All-Star when the rosters were revealed Sunday, but he still could punch his ticket via the Final Vote.
Whether Stanton ultimately earns an All-Star nod likely won’t impact his decision, though. After all, he wasn’t an All-Star when he won the competition in 2016, and it sounds like his absence from this season’s Derby simply is a personal choice.
For Judge, it’s all about staying on the field in the second half. He doesn’t want to risk injuring himself by swinging for the fences for an evening.
“This year we have something pretty special going on,” Judge said, per the New York Post. “I just want to stay healthy.”
Judge and Stanton entered Monday with 25 and 21 home runs, respectively.
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