Cincinnati Reds

Reds star rookie Elly De La Cruz declines Home Run Derby invitation

CINCINNATI — Despite only being called up to the big leagues a month ago, Cincinnati Reds star rookie Elly De La Cruz has made a splash at the plate.

In 24 games, De La Cruz, 21, has had three home runs, 28 hits, and nine stolen bases. On June 23, he became the first Reds player to hit for the cycle since 1989. He also became the youngest major league player to accomplish such a feat in 51 years.

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With such a hot start, it might come as no surprise to some that De La Cruz was reportedly invited to participate in this year’s Major League Baseball Home Run Derby. But the Reds star said he would not be taking his talents to Seattle to participate.

De La Cruz said Monday that he declined the invitation to compete in this year’s derby, according to our news partners at WCPO in Cincinnati. Instead, he wants to continue to focus on helping the Reds win this season.

As of Tuesday morning, the Reds are tied for first place in the National League Central with the Milwaukee Brewers.

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There are currently six big leaguers confirmed for this year’s Home Run Derby: Mets first baseman and two-time derby winner Pete Alonso, Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena, Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts, Blue Jays third basemen Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Mariners outfield and last year’s derby runner-up Julio Rodriguez, and Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman. There are two open spots remaining.

The Home Run Derby takes place July 10 at 8 p.m. The 2023 All-Star Game will be the following night. Only one Reds player, relief pitcher Alexis Díaz, was selected to participate in this year’s All-Star Game.