CHICAGO — Pete Alonso is itching to take a shot at defending his Home Run Derby crown.
“I’m all in, I am ready,” the Mets first baseman said Thursday.
Alonso won the event in 2019 as a rookie, but last year, the All-Star Game and surrounding events were canceled in the pandemic-shortened season. This year’s event will be held at Coors Field in Denver, where Alonso homered last weekend. Alonso still has to be selected for the Home Run Derby, but the defending champion normally gets to participate in the event.
“If I get invited I would love to do it,” Alonso said. “I would love to defend my title.”
After Alonso hit a rocket onto Waveland Avenue, behind the left-field bleachers at Wrigley Field on Wednesday night, he disagreed with the Statcast assessment the ball traveled 429 feet.
“I think if that ball went 429 feet, I think that is the shortest ball that has ever left this stadium,” Alonso said. “I have hit plenty of balls here they have said have gone like 430, like 450, but if a ball leaves the stadium here … I don’t think the Statcast is fully correct on that one. That was one of my favorite home runs. I think that was top five for me.”
Brandon Nimmo was absent from the starting lineup for a second straight night due to stiffness in his right hip. Manager Luis Rojas said Nimmo was available off the bench and the team is hopeful he will return to the starting lineup on Friday. Kevin Pillar again played center field, giving him two straight starts for the first time this season.
The Mets played on a third straight day for only the second time since the season began. The other instance was in Philadelphia in their opening series. Seven games involving the Mets have been postponed or suspended this season.
If they play their weekend series without interruption, the Mets will reach six straight days with a game before Monday’s day off. Thursday is also a day off, following a two-game interleague series against the Red Sox.
Rojas said Carlos Carrasco, Seth Lugo and Drew Smith are continuing their respective rehabs, but he didn’t have any specific details to offer.
Of that group, Carrasco has been deemed the closest to returning in the coming weeks, with Lugo not far behind. Smith still hasn’t returned to throwing from a mound. Off in the distance, Noah Syndergaard is expected to return in June.