NEW YORK (AP) — Matchups are set for baseball’s Home Run Derby.
Philadelphia Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber will be the top seed next Monday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles thanks to his 28 home runs through Wednesday — most among the eight players on the field.
Schwarber will face eighth-seeded Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round.
New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, trying to become the first player to win three straight, is the No. 2 seed and will face Atlanta outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., the seventh seed. series.
Texas Rangers’ third-seeded Corey Seager, added to the American League roster on Thursday as an injury replacement for next Tuesday’s All-Star Game, will face 21-year-old Seattle rookie Julio Rodríguez, the seeded No. 6.
Seager spent his first seven major league seasons with the Dodgers before signing with the Rangers last offseason.
No. 4 seed Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals takes on fifth seed José Ramírez of the Cleveland Guardians.
The seeds and matchups announced Thursday night by Major League Baseball were based on each player’s home run totals through Wednesday.
Alonso hit 74 total home runs in last year’s Derby at Coors Field in Denver and beat Baltimore’s Trey Mancini 23-22 in the final round. Alonso joined Ken Griffey Jr. (1998-99) and Yoenis Céspedes (2013-14) as the only players to win back-to-back titles. Griffey also won in 1994 and is the only three-time champion.
Pujols will enter his fifth Derby after failing in 2003, 2007, 2009 and 2015. He and Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera were added to the All-Star rosters as special selections by commissioner Rob Manfred.
Pujols will make his 11th All-Star appearance and compete in the Derby at one of his former homes. He played 85 games with the Dodgers last season after being eliminated by the Los Angeles Angels, then signed with St. Louis ahead of this season, which he says will be his last.
Pujols, 42, has six home runs this season and 685 in his career, fifth on the career list.
Rodríguez will be the 14th rookie to take part in the Derby, and only two of them have won it: Alonso in 2019 and Aaron Judge in 2017.
Judge leads the majors in home runs with 31 and is set to start the All-Star Game as the AL’s top vote-getter, but the New York Yankees star is not in the Derby.
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