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Bregman eliminated by Pederson in 1st round

@alysonfooter
July 9, 2019

CLEVELAND -- Alex Bregman brought the swagger, the confidence and the history of hitting a bunch of regular-season home runs with him to Monday's All-Star T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Progressive Field. Unfortunately for the Astros' third baseman, all of that cachet wasn't enough to advance to the second round.

CLEVELAND -- Alex Bregman brought the swagger, the confidence and the history of hitting a bunch of regular-season home runs with him to Monday's All-Star T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Progressive Field. Unfortunately for the Astros' third baseman, all of that cachet wasn't enough to advance to the second round.

“We may have to contemplate Home Run Derby retirement until it comes to Houston,” Bregman joked. “I got exhausted with about a minute left. I have to work on my endurance.”

Here's what happened in every HR Derby round

Bregman, participating in the Derby for the second consecutive year, hit 16 home runs during his four-minute opening round, but he couldn't top his competitor, Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson, who slugged 21 long balls and made it all the way to the semifinal round.

Bregman, hitting off his regular batting practice pitcher, bullpen catcher Javier Bracamonte, said he was wiped out two minutes into this excursion. There wasn’t any particular reason for him tiring out, other than the Derby is obviously not your garden-variety round of BP. The pitches come quickly, and frequently. There’s no time to reset. And the clock is running, which can add a layer of pressure not felt during those relaxed hours leading up to a regular-season game.

Bregman, who finished the first half of the season tied for fourth in the American League with 23 homers, launched his first homer on the third pitch he saw, and although at one point he slugged four in a row -- on the 10th through 13th pitches -- he faded a bit in the final minute.

“They just hit the top of the wall,” he said. “I needed them to go three feet higher.”

Bracamonte said that although he felt a little pressure, he mostly pretended he was throwing his regular BP rounds to Bregman, as he does daily during the season. He noticed the pace was a little faster this year compared with last, mainly because the throwers did not have to wait for the home run balls to land in the stands before making their next pitch. In last season’s Derby in Washington, they were required to wait.

The difference, though, turned out to be minimal.

“We knew we were competing against these monsters,” Bracamonte said. “Big guys, very strong. That made the difference. It was fun.”

Bregman, focused and competitive no matter what the circumstances, wanted to win and would not have entered had he not thought he could. But he also wasn’t terribly upset that he didn’t.

“It's just so fun,” he said. “It's a blast every time. I had a great time just competing with everybody. I was a little less nervous [than last year], but then it kicked in right away as soon as it started. I like that -- I like those little nervous jitters.”

Once he was bounced, Bregman was able to sit back with his AL teammates and watch the rest of the show, which turned out to be epic. Between the 91 homers Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit over three rounds, the tiebreakers between Guerrero Jr. and Joc Pederson in the semifinals, and Pete Alonso squeaking by with the win, this Derby will go down in history as one of the best.

Bregman was grateful for his front-row seat.

“I couldn't imagine three rounds of that,” he said of the Vlad-Joc 79-homer semifinal showdown. “I was gassed after two minutes of it.”

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.