Aaron Judge is the top vote-getter in the All-Star balloting so far and, obviously, he and his moonshot home runs are the biggest story of the first half of the season. Not surprisingly, then, he was extended an invitation to the Home Run Derby.
Will he do it? He’s not sure:
“Haven’t decided yet. I’ll think about it for a while and see what we do . . . Just more focused on what I can do for the team right now.”
He’s probably wanting to get the OK from Yankees brass, seeing as how some teams have had kind of an uneasy feeling about their sluggers participating in the past. There’s a notion out there, less so now than there used to be, that participating in the Home Run Derby messes up power hitters. That’s generally been debunked, but it still holds to some degree.
I suspect Judge will participate, especially seeing as though he’ll be down in Miami for the All-Star Game itself. If so, we should expect a show. His power is prodigious and his BP homers are McGwire-eseque. He’ll probably put on a tremendous show.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.