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Joey Gallo will not participate in Home Run Derby

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Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo will not participate in the 2019 Home Run Derby next week, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Gallo missed more than three weeks in June due to a strained left oblique. Understandably, neither Gallo or the Rangers want to risk aggravating the oblique issue.

Gallo, 25, has been one of the game’s better power hitters this season, batting .286/.426/.683 with 20 home runs and 46 RBI in 238 plate appearances. He finished with 40 home runs in each of the last two seasons. Needless to say, Gallo is an obvious candidate for the Home Run Derby. One of these days we’ll see him in there.

There are six confirmed contestants for the Derby thus far: The Indians’ Carlos Santana, the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the Brewers’ Christian Yelich, the Mets’ Pete Alonso, the Pirates’ Josh Bell, and the Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. The other two contestants will be confirmed by 10 PM ET tomorrow.

MLB to move the draft to Omaha on the eve of the College World Series

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SAN DIEGO — We spend a lot of time on these pages criticizing Major League Baseball’s decisions. And yeah, they make a lot of questionable decisions (or logical decisions which serve questionable motives). But in the past day or so they’ve certainly gotten a couple of things right.

First was what we posted about last night: MLB moving to take marijuana off the banned substance list for minor leaguers. This, combined with the recent report that MLB/MLBPA are moving to a treatment, as opposed to a punishment-based regimen for opioids, shows that sense, as opposed to hysteria and optics, is beginning to move to the fore when it comes to baseball’s drug policies. It’s certainly welcome.

Also reported last night — by Kendall Rogers of the website d1baseball.com — Major League Baseball plans to move the amateur draft from the MLB Network studios in New Jersey to Omaha, Nebraska, and schedule it at just at the start of the College World Series. The move has not been officially announced yet, but I’d expect an MLB press release on it before we all get on our planes on Thursday morning.

It would be nicely coordinated too, Rogers says, coming just after the super regionals but before the actual CWS. This would allow the top players expected to go to all be on hand, either as players in the CWS or because, hey, they just got done and would probably be there anyway. It’s way better than putting a six guys in a green room in Secaucus. That’s always so awkward. You can tell they don’t really want to be there and don’t know what to do with themselves. In Omaha they’ll be among their friends, teammates, family, and counterparts. The atmosphere will almost certainly radically change for the better.

It’s still a very, very tall order to ever create the same level of interest in the MLB draft that exists for the NFL or NBA drafts, as the structure of college football and basketball and the fame of its stars is a totally different deal coming in. But this is a positive move forward for the baseball draft. Good job to whoever’s idea it was.