Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman will replace Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich in the Home Run Derby, Major League Baseball announced on Sunday.
Yelich, 27, has been bothered by back spasms at times this season. Evidently they have been bad enough recently to keep him out of the Home Run Derby. Yelich was the No. 1 seed, set to square off against Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Yelich, the reigning NL MVP, goes into the All-Star break batting .329/.433/.707 with a MLB-best total of 31 home runs along with 67 RBI.
Chapman, 26, entered Sunday’s action batting .265/.353/.534 with 21 home runs and 52 RBI across 388 trips to the plate. Now in his third season, this will be Chapman’s first appearance in the Home Run Derby.
The other first-round match-ups will see Pete Alonso (2) against Carlos Santana (7), Josh Bell (3) against Ronald Acuña Jr. (6), and Alex Bregman (4) against Joc Pederson (5).
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.