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Alex Bregman, Joc Pederson round out 2019 Home Run Derby bracket

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The 2019 Home Run Derby bracket has been finalized and was just announced on ESPN. We knew six of them heading into tonight: 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.

They will be joined by the Astros’ Alex Bregman and the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson.

Yelich and Alonso are No. 1 and 2 in baseball in homers with 31 and 28, respectively. Bell is fourth with 26. Bregman’s 23 are good for 10th place. Pederson and Acuña each have 20, Santana has 18, and Guerrero has eight.

Bregman was in the Derby last year, narrowly losing to Kyle Schwarber in the first round 16-15. Pederson lost in the finals to Todd Frazier 15-14 in 2015. Everyone else is a newcomer.

The bracket:

  • Yelich (1) vs. Guerrero (8)
  • Alonso (2) vs. Santana (7)
  • Bell (3) vs. Acuña (6)
  • Bregman (4) vs. Pederson (5)

Tune into the 2019 Home Run Derby at Progressive Field on Monday, followed by the All-Star Game on Tuesday.

Aaron Hicks would like to avoid Tommy John surgery

Aaron Hicks
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The Yankees’ 2019 run ended in heartbreak on Saturday night when, despite a stunning ninth-inning comeback, they fell 6-4 to the Astros and officially lost their bid for the AL pennant. Now, facing a long offseason, there are a few decisions to be made.

One of those falls on the shoulders of outfielder Aaron Hicks, who told reporters that he “thinks he can continue playing without Tommy John surgery.” It’s unclear whose recommendation he’s basing that decision on, however, as MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch points out that Tommy John surgery was recommended during the slugger’s most recent meeting with Dr. Neal ELAttrache.

Hicks originally sustained a season-ending right flexor strain in early August and held several consultations with ElAttrache and the Yankees’ physician in the months that followed. He spent two and a half months on the 60-day injured list and finally returned to the Yankees’ roster during the ALCS, in which he went 2-for-13 with a base hit and a Game 5 three-run homer against the Astros.

Of course, a handful of strong performances doesn’t definitively prove that the outfielder is fully healed — or that he’ll be able to avoid aggravating the injury with further activity. Granted, Tommy John surgery isn’t a minor procedure; it’s one that requires up to a year of rest and rehabilitation before most players are cleared to throw again. Should Hicks wait to reverse his decision until he reports for spring training in 2020, though, it could push his return date out by another six months or so.