There was no talking Josh Hamilton into taking part in the Home Run Derby, so Robinson Cano went with some pretty good fallbacks Monday: Jose Bautista, Prince Fielder and Mark Trumbo.
Bautista leads the AL with 26 homers at the moment, one more than Hamilton. Cano and Trumbo both have 20 apiece, while Fielder lags behind with 12. All told, the AL Home Run Derby team has 78 homers this year, compared to 68 for Matt Kemp’s NL squad, which is comprised of himself, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gonzalez and Carlos Beltran.
Besides Hamilton, David Ortiz, who participated the last two years, opted out of consideration for the AL squad this year. Adam Dunn, who is third in the AL with 24 homers, is a surprising omission, but he too may have declined.
Cano was named captain of this year’s squad by virtue of winning the Home Run Derby last year. He hit 12 homers in the finale to edge Adrian Gonzalez.
Mets starter Jon Niese left his start Tuesday night against the Cardinals due to left knee pain.
Niese walked two and gave up an RBI single before leaving with a trainer with one out in the bottom of the first inning. He was eventually charged with three earned runs. Robert Gsellman, just up from Las Vegas, took over, making his major league debut under unexpected circumstances.
Niese, who has not pitched well at all since coming over in a trade with the Pirates, is likely to be placed on the disabled list after the game or before tomorrow’s game.
Mark Trumbo still has many chances to hit a home run tonight — it’s only been an inning or so in the Nats-Orioles game — but his weird home run streak is over.
Coming into tonight’s game, Trumbo’s last seven hits had been homers. The all-time record had been 11, set by Mark McGwire back in 2001. The last time Trumbo got a hit that wasn’t a dong was back on August 11. Later in that game, however, he hit a grand slam. After that he went 6 for his next 34, with all those safeties dingers.
But that’s over now. In the first inning tonight he drove in a run with a two-out single. Then he was thrown out trying to stretch it to two. Good job on the RBIs, Mark. Bad job on the base running. Judgment withheld on the homer streak because, really, that’s just kind of weird and cool.