On Friday, Angels two-way wunderkind Shohei Ohtani became the first player to commit to the 2021 Home Run Derby. Reigning champion Pete Alonso wants to defend his crown, plus Vladimir Guerrero Jr. want in as well.
One player with no interest in the Home Run Derby: Aaron Judge. Friday afternoon, the Yankees star and 2017 Home Run Derby champion told reporters, including Newsday's Laura Albanese, he plans on skipping the event unless the All-Star Game is played in New York.
"I haven't even thought of it to be honest," Judge said when asked about the Home Run Derby. "I've got no interest right now unless the All-Star Game is back in New York soon."
This is not the first time Judge has expressed this sentiment, it should be noted. Back in 2018 he said he was "one and done" with the Home Run Derby, though he's since changed his tune and is apparently open to participating whenever it returns to New York.
Judge won the 2017 Home Run Derby, but later admitted it exacerbated a shoulder injury he suffered crashing into the wall a few weeks earlier. He played through the injury in the second half, which contributed to a deep August slump, and Judge required surgery on the shoulder that offseason.
"(The 2017 Home Run Derby) affected me because I hurt my shoulder," Judge said in 2019. "But my swing-wise, no. I was just taking BP. That was probably the worst thing having to hear every single day, people saying, 'Did it affect you?' Nah, it was a day of BP. It doesn't really affect me. If I didn't get hurt, it would have been a different story."
New York last hosted the All-Star Game in 2013, when it was held at Citi Field, home of the Mets. The Yankees last hosted the All-Star Game in 2008, in the final year of the old Yankee Stadium. The new Yankee Stadium figures to be in the All-Star Game queue for the late 2020s or early 2030s.
Judge, 29, is hitting .281/.379/.511 with 15 home runs in 64 games this season. He is scheduled to become a free agent after next season, and if he doesn't re-sign with the Yankees, perhaps he'll change his mind about the "only in New York" approach to the Home Run Derby.
The 2021 Home Run Derby will take place Monday, July 12, at Coors Field in Denver..