C.J. Cron doesn’t want to talk about the Home Run Derby, at least not yet. But Rockies manager Bud Black has no problem promoting his first baseman.
“I’m all in. We’ll watch it, and turn the volume up,” Black said Monday prior to Colorado’s game against the Padres at Coors Field.
But wait, there’s more.
“I think he’d win it. I’m going on record,” Black said. “He’s got raw power, he’s a home run hitter. He’s got to take down the “Polar Bear.”
The Polar Bear is Mets slugger Pete Alonso, who’s a back-to-back Derby champion and is going after a three-peat this year. So far, Alonso and Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr. are the only two participants named to the Derby, which takes place on July 18 at Dodger Stadium, the night before the All-Star Game.
The remaining contestants in the eight-man field are scheduled to be announced at 5 p.m. Thursday on ESPN.
“I’ll have to make that decision if I’m asked,” said Cron, who was named a first-time all-star on Sunday. “I can’t determine what I’ll do until they ask me. I’m not thinking about it until the option is on the table.”
Second baseman Brendan Rodgers would love to see Cron rake in L.A.
“Watching him in batting practice is impressive, so I hope he gets to hit in the Home Run Derby,” Rodgers said. “That would be awesome to watch and I think he would love to do that and show up for all of us guys.”
Last year at Coors Field, Alonso put on a personal fireworks show. He beat out Orioles’ first baseman Trey Mancini to become the third back-to-back Home Run Derby champion. Alonso hit 74 home runs en route to the crown.
“I think I’m the best power hitter on the planet,” Alonso said after winning last year. “Being able to showcase that, and really putting on a fun display for fans, I think it’s a dream come true for me because when I was young, my parents let me stay up past my bedtime to watch this.
“That was one of the few nights per year I actually got to stay up past my bedtime, just watch incredible feats that you don’t see in a regular baseball game.”
Bard’s bid. Rockies closer Daniel Bard, who entered Monday’s game having converted 18 saves in 20 opportunities and owning a 2.20 ERA, was not named to the National League all-star squad. Black was bummed about that but said there is still a good chance that Bard will be added to the roster as a replacement player.
“I’m holding out hope that he might get the call,” Black said. “I’ve heard that he was in strong consideration, so he’s close. We’ll see how this plays out.”
Hilliard returns. Outfielder Sam Hilliard, who was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on June 16 after opening the season with the Rockies, rejoined the big-league club before Monday’s game. He replaced left fielder Kris Bryant, who went on the paternity list Monday. Bryant’s wife, Jess, is having twin boys. Bryant will be out for one to three days.
Hilliard hit .161/.238/.268 with two home runs in 41 games this season and was in the midst of an 0-for-20 slump when the Rockies sent him down. He slashed .279/.370/.541 with four homers in 16 games for the Isotopes.
“It hurt. I didn’t want to go down and I wanted to figure it out up here,” Hilliard admitted. “But that’s not how it went. They had a different plan for me. … But I feel good and I feel better than when I left here. But I don’t think I ever really lost my confidence.”
Hilliard said that getting consistent at-bat at Triple-A was helpful. Black agreed.
“He’s in a good spot and the at-bats have been better and some of his hitting mechanics have been (worked out), and the in-game reps have helped him,” Black said.
There is a good chance that Hilliard could remain with the Rockies when Bryant returns if the club decides to option corner infielder Elehuris Montero to Triple-A to get him more playing time.
Footnotes. Right-hander Antonio Senzatela (shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to make a rehab start at Triple-A on Tuesday. He’s slated to pitch five innings and throw about 75 pitches. … Right-hander Peter Lambert continues to be slowed by a right elbow injury. Lambert has received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection and is in Arizona as he waits to begin a rehab program.