MLB In Full Bloom - Cespedes Repeats As HR Derby Champion - 7/15/2014

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Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes became the first repeat winner of the All-Star game home run derby in 15 years on Monday night in Minneapolis. Cespedes became the first player to win back-to-back trophies in the Derby since Ken Griffey Jr. did it in 1998 and 1999. But unlike last year, when Bryce Harper fell one short of Cespedes' mark in the final round, he cruised past Frazier 9-1 to earn his second title. Cespedes saved his best for last, a 452-foot blast to the third deck above left field that officially measured as the longest of the night. It wasn't all smooth sailing, though. In the first round, Cespedes needed a swing-off against teammate Josh Donaldson to advance to the next round. He then took care of Adam Jones as he got into the swing of things. On the National League side, Frazier took down Troy Tulowitzki after sliding past Tulo's teammate and fan favorite Justin Morneau in the first round.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Adam Wainwright has been named the National League starter for Tuesday night's All-Star Game. There was a strong argument to be made for Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, but National League manager Mike Matheny will go with his own guy. Wainwright owns a sensational 1.83 ERA in 138 innings this season for the Cardinals. Kershaw has also thrown 40 more innings than Kershaw has to this point in the season and that was also a factor in Matheny's decision.
  • Felix Hernandez will start for the American League in Tuesday's All-Star Game at Target Field. American League skipper John Farrell made the announcement Monday with not as much anticipation as there was when National League manager Mike Matheny made his announcement for his starting pitcher. Hernandez earned his 11th victory of the season last Friday against the A's and owns a 2.12 ERA in 144 1/3 total innings this year.
  • Cliff Lee (elbow) surrendered eight runs, just three earned, on eight hits and a walk in just 4 2/3 innings in his final rehab start for High-A Clearwater on Monday. It was an ugly performance for the left-hander and certainly raises concerns moving forward. There's been no word on Lee's velocity or how he felt, but clearly these weren't the results the Phillies were looking for in Lee's final tune-up before rejoining the rotation on July 21.
  • Carlos Beltran (concussion) will likely be activated Friday. Beltran has not experienced any lingering symptoms, and felt fine after physical activity on Sunday. It is still likely he will continue to be the Yankees' DH upon return, but it's obviously an encouraging sign if he can come back immediately following the All-Star break.
  • Alfonso Soriano was officially released by the New York Yankees on Monday. Soriano was designated for assignment a week ago and, not surprisingly, cleared waivers. Soriano has returned to the Dominican Republic, but would be open to playing for another club for the remainder of the season. He was batting just .221 with six homers over 67 games for the Yanks before losing his roster spot. Soriano is relaxing at home collecting on his $18 million salary this season, which is mostly being paid by the Chicago Cubs.
  • According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Red Sox were prepared to offer Jon Lester  approximately $100 million over five years before Lester ceased negotiations. Lester is set to become a free agent after the season, and he will be paid handsomely by the Red Sox or someone else if he's allowed to reach the open market.
  • Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Andrew Velazquez set a new minor-league record by reaching base in his 72nd consecutive game on Sunday. The previous record was shared by Kevin Millar (1997) and Kevin Youkilis (2003). Mookie Betts also reached base in 71 straight games spanning 2013-14 when you include the postseason. During the 72-game streak, Velazquez hit .314 with 94 hits, 41 walks and two hit-by-pitches.