#Cubs Rizzo, Bryant to compete in HR Derby
Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant will both compete in the 2015 Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders, to be held Monday at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
Rizzo and Bryant will compete along with the Reds’ Todd Frazier and two-time champ Prince Fielder of the Rangers. Others in the event include Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, who was MLB’s leading vote-getter for the 2015 All-Star Game; Orioles third baseman Manny Machado; Dodgers rookie outfielder Joc Pederson; and three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols of the Angels.
The last Cubs player to participate in the event was Sammy Sosa in 2004. He won it all in 2000.
This year’s event will introduce a new streamlined format featuring brackets and timed rounds. Brackets in the first round were seeded based on 2015 home run totals through Tuesday’s games. The first round matchups will include No. 1 seed Pujols vs. No. 8 seed Bryant; No. 2 seed Frazier vs. No. 7 seed Fielder; No. 3 seed Donaldson vs. No. 6 seed Rizzo; and No. 4 seed Pederson vs. No. 5 seed Machado.
Bryant, the sixth rookie to compete in the Derby, will have his father, Mike, a former Minor League pitcher in the Red Sox system, throw to him, while Rizzo will try to get an edge with Cubs coach Franklin Font.
“I’m looking forward to experiencing that with my dad — not many kids can say they had their dad pitch to him in the Home Run Derby,” Bryant said.
Said Rizzo: “It’s going to be exciting. Kris and I will really enjoy it; I think everyone that will participate will enjoy it. It’s something I watched growing up as a kid, and participated in a few, and it’s going to be awesome.”
Rizzo has hit six home runs in 88 at-bats over 23 games at Great American Ball Park; Bryant has none in two games there.
— Carrie Muskat