Blue Jays’ Guerrero Jr. won’t defend Home Run Derby crown

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will not be defending his Home Run Derby title this year in Texas.

The Toronto Blue Jays first baseman told Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi ahead of the team’s game Friday against the New York Yankees that he has no intention of competing in the event this summer.

“He is satisfied with the fact that he got that Home Run Derby victory last year,” Davidi said pre-game. “It was something that he wanted to do. He wants to give other people a chance to try and win the Derby, as well.

“He wants to make sure he’s putting himself in the best position physically for the rest of the season. It’s a draining experience, as you can tell, and he doesn’t want to do anything above and beyond right now.”

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Guerrero won the 2023 event at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, smashing 72 total homers over three rounds to knock off Mookie Betts, hometown favourite Julio Rodriguez and Randy Arozarena.

The 25-year-old joined his dad, Vlad Sr., to become the first father-son duo to both win a Home Run Derby.

Guerrero Jr. also starred in the 2019 Derby, setting multiple records on his way to a defeat in the final against Pete Alonso.

On Thursday, it was revealed that Guerrero had been voted onto Phase 2 of All-Star voting as one of the top two vote-getters among American League first basemen and will go against Ryan Mountcastle for a starting spot in the Midsummer Classic.

In 2024, Guerrero is slashing .289/.370/.447 with 11 home runs and 42 RBIs and has gone on a power surge recently with four long balls in his last six games.

While it looks like he won’t be adding another Home Run Derby belt to his trophy case this season, Guerrero did leave the door open to competing again in the future.

“Maybe down the road sometime he’d consider doing another Home Run Derby, but for the moment, he’s good,” Davidi said.

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