Julio Rodriguez is throwing his bat in the ring…
The 22-year-old Dominican professional baseball player, a Seattle Mariners‘ star outfielder, has committed to the Home Run Derby, which will take place in his home city leading up to this year’s MLB All-Star Game.
He later told reporters that he’s excited to be part of a derby in Seattle.
“This probably will never happen again in my career — being able to do that for them at the home field definitely will be something that I’m looking forward to,” he said. “I’m definitely going to try to do my best for them.”
Rodriguez shined as a rookie in last year’s event, electrifying the Dodger Stadium crowd with a stirring performance that saw him finish as the runner-up to Juan Soto.
Now 22, Rodriguez went on to sign a lucrative long-term extension, lead the Mariners to their first postseason appearance in more than 20 years and win the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
“I know LA was cool. I enjoyed it,” Rodríguez said. “But being able to be at home and put on a show for the Mariners’ fans, I know it’s going to be really exciting.”
The Home Run Derby, a bracket-style event with timed rounds featuring eight participants, will take place July 10 at T-Mobile Park in Seattle and will air on ESPN. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts recently told MLB Network he’d also take part if selected as part of the National League All-Star team, a near certainty given his .260/.359/.502 slash line.
Rodriguez is off to a slow start for a Mariners team that sits a game below .500 and is currently out of the playoff picture, batting .238/.300/.415 with 12 home runs and 16 stolen bases. But he ranks within the top 10% in average exit velocity.