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Schwarber, Baez finalize Home Run Derby plans

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

SAN DIEGO -- Both Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez will have familiar faces throwing to them in Monday's T-Mobile Home Run Derby.

Schwarber asked Mike Sinicola, a real estate agent who played college baseball and has thrown batting practice for the Cubs outfielder in Tampa, Fla., for a few years, while Baez is going to rely on his older brother Gadiel, 27.

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SAN DIEGO -- Both Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez will have familiar faces throwing to them in Monday's T-Mobile Home Run Derby.

Schwarber asked Mike Sinicola, a real estate agent who played college baseball and has thrown batting practice for the Cubs outfielder in Tampa, Fla., for a few years, while Baez is going to rely on his older brother Gadiel, 27.

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"He's the best," Baez said Friday of his brother.

:: Complete Home Run Derby coverage ::

Baez did consider asking one of the Cubs coaches.

"In this case, it might be a pretty special moment, and you don't know when it's going to come again," Baez said. "The family wants to be there. I asked him. He wasn't coming [to the All-Star Game] because he just had a baby, too, and he's been really busy. As soon as I told him [about the Home Run Derby], he was really excited."

Video: Baez looks to show off power at Home Run Derby

Schwarber's bat also will be special -- he will be using a red, white and blue model with his Neighborhood Heroes foundation's logo stamped on it.

Schwarber planned on practicing Saturday prior to the Cubs' game against the Padres at Petco Park. Teammate Anthony Rizzo, who took part in the event in 2015 with Kris Bryant, offered some tips.

"The biggest advice is just try to hit the ball over the fence and not out of the stadium, because that's what you want to do," Rizzo said. "They're going to have fun doing it. It'll be fun to see their personalities on that stage and compete at that level. They've obviously competed at the highest level. It's a different atmosphere. It'll be fun to watch them."

It'll be strange to have all the cameras and attention at Nationals Park, but not have a batting cage.

"I could see it being really different," Schwarber said. "That's the thing you have to get used to. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. I know [Baez] will be ready to put on a show. I think I'm going to be starstruck watching him."

A practice round should help.

"I'm going to at least try it once, so I'm not thrown for a wrench when I get out there," Schwarber said. "I want to get the two minutes in without the cage there and see how it goes."

Video: Schwarber to represent NL in 2018 Home Run Derby

Will Baez practice?

"I'm just going to go out there and hit BP, that's all I can do," Baez said. "I'm going to obviously try to hit some bombs. I don't have to do much."

• Cubs pitcher Jon Lester will be at Nationals Park to cheer on Schwarber and Baez. Named to the National League team for the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, Lester will not pitch because he's starting on Sunday against the Padres.

"Now I get to kind of enjoy everything and sit back and enjoy the game and not worry about getting in the game," Lester said Friday. "It'll be nice to just hang out. In '11, I got to do that. I was on the [disabled list] when I went so I got to chill in the dugout and just be there, which was nice. All the other ones, you're worried about getting ready and making sure you have enough throws and you're warm. This will be nice to hang out with everybody and enjoy the game."

He is planning on throwing a bullpen session Tuesday to prep for the second half.

While watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on Tuesday, fans can submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote.

The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. PT on FOX will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.

For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

• The Cubs activated left-handed reliever Brian Duensing from the disabled list and optioned right-hander Luke Farrell to Triple-A Iowa. Duensing had been sidelined with left shoulder fatigue and pitched one inning for Double-A Tennessee, throwing 11 pitches (six strikes) in a rehab assignment.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber