MLB: Athletics' Cespedes wins Home Run Derby
New York • The Home Run Derby champion didn't even make the All-Star team.
Yoenis Cespedes won baseball's power-hitting competition with a dazzling display Monday night, becoming the first player left out of the All-Star game to take home the crown. The Oakland Athletics slugger beat Bryce Harper 9-8 in the final round at reconfigured Citi Field, hitting the decisive drive with five swings to spare.
In his second major league season, the outfielder from Cuba dropped his bat and raised his arm in triumph when he sent his 32nd homer of the night some 455 feet to deep center field, where it caromed off the back wall of the black batter's eye. He was swarmed by the American League All-Stars near the third base line.
"You come for a show in New York. He put on a show," said Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer, set to start for the AL on Tuesday night.
The final addition to the field, Cespedes was the fourth player not selected for the All-Star game to compete in the event.
Right off the bat, he proved he belonged. With family in the stands, Cespedes hit a whopping 17 home runs in the first round more than any other player managed in their first two trips to the plate.
"I felt that I was getting into a very good rhythm, and that as long as the ball was right over the plate, I felt like I was in a good groove," Cespedes said through a translator. "That was the key."
That sent him straight into the finals, though he added six long balls in round two for good measure. Some of his early drives were particularly impressive, too. The 27-year-old Cespedes hit about a half-dozen balls into the upper deck in left, never reached by anyone in a game, and banged another couple of shots off the restaurant windows in the corner just below.
MLB targets bias
Major League Baseball says it will bolster its policies against harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to a new agreement provided to The Associated Press on Monday.
The league is scheduled to announce its new policy during its All-Star game festivities on Tuesday with the players' union and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who helped draft the agreement. Under the new policy, the league will create a workplace code of conduct and distribute it to every major league and minor league player. It also will provide new training sessions and create a centralized complaint system to report any harassment and discrimination.