The wait is over for baseball fans. The Judge has given them the verdict they wanted to hear.Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, two of the Baby Bombers from the Bronx, will represent the American League in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday (at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN) at
The wait is over for baseball fans. The Judge has given them the verdict they wanted to hear.
Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, two of the Baby Bombers from the Bronx, will represent the American League in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday (at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN) at Marlins Park in Miami.
As the No. 8 seed, Sanchez will go up against reigning Derby champion Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins, and Judge, who is the No. 2 seed, will oppose Stanton's teammate, Justin Bour.
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The announcement came in a video posted to the Yankees' Twitter account on Monday.
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Speculation had run deep about Judge's participation in the Derby, and he confirmed it on the same day he picked up AL Player and Rookie of the Month awards for June.
"Even better, I got a friend coming with me," Judge said in the video.
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That friend is Sanchez, seated to Judge's left in the video, who's hit 13 homers -- nine of them in June -- after coming back from a right biceps strain that sidelined him for a month. Sanchez is second among catchers in home runs, behind fellow All-Star Salvador Perez of the Royals, and has been turning up the heat lately, slashing .329/.415/.634 in the past month. Sanchez also has a track record with home runs, having hit 20 of them in 53 games as a rookie last season.
Judge comes with plenty of qualifications, too. He leads the Major Leagues in dingers with 29, and his personal batting-practice shows have gone viral this season. What's more, fans in Miami can expect Judge can rack up style points for sheer power and distance. He holds the Statcast™ record for the hardest-hit (121.1 mph) and longest (495 feet) home runs.
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Last month, Judge was invited to participate in the Derby, but he refrained a while from making a decision. It was hard to imagine a home run-hitting contest without him, but he said at the time that he was focused more on the job he had to do on the field than on the Derby, which was still weeks away.
"I was focused on a lot of things there were going on during the season and I just didn't feel like the timing was right to really announce anything," Judge said on Monday. "I wanted to wait until the All-Star stuff went out. My 100 percent focus was on the team and what we were doing on the field. The All-Star stuff and Home Run Derby stuff is second to that. So I had decided to wait until after it was announced."
While both Judge and Sanchez said that their main focus will be to have fun in the Derby, they did say they will be trying to win, even if it means knocking the other one out.
"We're going to root each other on, but this is a competition," Judge said. "That's what's going to make it that much more enjoyable for both of us, just competing against each other."
Sanchez agreed with Judge, but also added through an interpreter: "If I don't win, I want Judge to win."
Both Judge and Sanchez said Monday that they asked Yankees batting-practice pitcher Danilo Valiente to pitch to them.
"I think it's going to be special, the Derby," Sanchez said. "The fans are going to enjoy it. I'm pretty sure the excitement will be through the roof."
Megan Zahneis and Matthew Martell are reporters for MLB.com.