Guerrero Jr. has elected to prioritize his health — specifically his wrist — over individual glory.
“My wrist is fine right now but I've got to be careful — there are too many swings in a home run derby,” Guerrero Jr. told Sportsnet's Shi Davidi 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.”
The 23-year-old told Davidi he expects he'll have to manage his wrist for the remainder of his career. The issue first arose while he was still playing in the minor leagues and flared up again at the end of May.
The news comes as a major disappointment for baseball fans, as the young slugger put on a show in the 2019 event with a record 91 home runs throughout the competition. He ultimately fell to reigning two-time champion Pete Alonso in the final.
Just because Guerrero Jr. won't be partaking in the Home Run Derby doesn't mean he's sitting out the All-Star festivities entirely. He currently leads American League first basemen in fan voting and appears to be a lock to start his second consecutive Midsummer Classic. Guerrero Jr. dazzled in his first taste of the All-Star Game last year, capturing MVP honours.
The Canadian-born phenom hasn't found the same form that led him to a second-place finish in MVP voting in 2021, slashing .268/.360/.506 with 18 home runs this season. He has been significantly better in June, with nine home runs and an OPS over 1.000 for the month.
This year's Home Run Derby takes place on July 18 at Dodger Stadium, with the All-Star Game scheduled for the following day.
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