Seventy-two home runs were not quite enough.
Randy Arozarena, who joined Evan Longoria (2008) and Carlos Pena (2009) as the only Rays to participate in the home run derby, won two rounds of the event Monday night before losing to Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. in the final round at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park. The Toronto first baseman prevailed, 25-23.
Arozarena advanced to the final after defeating fellow Cuban and White Sox outfielder Luis Robert, 35-22, in a semifinal.
The 28-year-old outfielder, who was the derby’s first participant, bested the Rangers’ Adolis Garcia, 24-17, in the opening round. The Cuban-born Garcia is a great friend of Arozarena and his daughter’s godfather.
Arozarena is tied with Isaac Paredes and Jose Siri for the team lead in homers with 16, though he has only two in his last 15 games. Ironically, both were against the Mariners in Seattle.
Four Rays are in Seattle for this week’s festivities. Arozarena and first baseman Yandy Diaz were voted starters during fan balloting. Shane McClanahan, last year’s starting pitcher for the American League, was voted in by the players. The lefty will not take the mound due to back tightness that led to a stint on the 15-day injured list. He could return to action this weekend in Kansas City.
Shortstop Wander Franco became the fourth Rays all-star when he was added to the roster last week as a replacement for injured Yankees’ slugger Aaron Judge.
It will be quite a week for Diaz. The all-star game will actually serve as the undercard because his wife, Mayisleidis, is scheduled to deliver the couple’s first child Wednesday via C-section. Diaz will make the overnight flight back after the game.
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