LOS ANGELES (AP)Washington Nationals star Juan Soto won his first Home Run Derby, holding off Seattle Mariners rookie Julio Rodriguez 19-18 in the final.
The 23-year-old Soto hit 53 total homers, beating each of his three opponents by one homer in the midseason power showcase. Soto was locked in at the plate even after spending an hour earlier at Dodger Stadium answering repeated questions about his possible departure from the Nats after turning down a huge contract extension.
”It feels amazing. It feels tiring,” Soto said. ”I just tried to concentrate to square off the balls, because I know I have the power.”
Soto beat Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez 18-17 in the first round before getting past 42-year-old Albert Pujols 16-15 to reach the final.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Mike Trout will not play in the All-Star Game, but the Los Angeles Angels slugger is hoping to be healthy enough not only for the second half of the season but also next year’s World Baseball Classic.
Trout said he will play in the WBC for the first time and he will serve as captain of Team USA.
”It means a lot. I missed an opportunity the first time and I knew this was one I couldn’t miss,” Trout said. ”I’ll be able to ramp it up a little bit quicker. I’m looking forward to playing for our country.”
Trout was also placed on the Angels’ 10-day injured list with left ribcage inflammation. He missed the Angels’ final four games before the break due to upper back spasms. With the move being retroactive to July 12, he will be eligible to come off the IL on Saturday during the Angels’ series in Atlanta.
The 10-time All-Star selection dropped out of Tuesday’s All-Star Game to rest his injury but was at Dodger Stadium on Monday to take in the festivities.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The McGwire family is set to see the other side of things in one of baseball’s best rivalries.
Mason McGwire, son of 12-time All-Star slugger Mark, was selected in the eighth round of baseball’s amateur draft by the Chicago Cubs.
Mark spent five of his 16 major league seasons with the rival St. Louis Cardinals, including the memorable 1998 season when he and Cubs star Sammy Sosa raced to break Roger Maris’ single-season home run mark. McGwire ended up with 70 and Sosa with 66 before both of their reputations were tarnished amid steroid revelations.
Mason is a right-handed pitcher out of Capistrano Valley High School in California. The 18-year-old – born several years after Mark’s playing days ended – is committed to the University of Oklahoma, where his 19-year-old brother Max is an infielder. There’s no indication yet if Mason plans to turn pro, but teams seldom use picks in the top 10 rounds on players who they think are unsignable.
Mark was also drafted in the eighth round out of high school in 1981 by the Montreal Expos as a first baseman and right-handed pitcher. He opted to attend college at Southern California, where he led college baseball in home runs in 1984 before being chosen 10th overall by Oakland.
MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) – Alex Morgan converted on a penalty in the 78th minute and the U.S. national team won the CONCACAF W Championship 1-0 over Canada to secure one of the region’s spots in the 2024 Olympics.
As FIFA President Gianni Infantino watched from a private box, the United States finally broke a stalemate when Rose Lavelle was fouled in the box and Morgan fooled Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan on the penalty. It was Morgan’s 118th overall career goal.
Jamaica defeated Costa Rica 1-0 in overtime earlier Monday to claim third place in the tournament.
The four semifinalists all earlier earned spots in the 2023 World Cup next summer in Australia and New Zealand. Runner-up Canada will play Jamaica in a playoff for the region’s other Olympic bid in September 2023.
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Duke and Arizona have agreed to a home-and-home men’s basketball series for 2023 and 2024.
The first meeting comes in November 2023 with the Wildcats visiting the Blue Devils’ famously hostile Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke travels west to Tucson the following November.
In statements, new Duke coach Jon Scheyer and Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd – named The Associated Press men’s college basketball national coach of the year in April after his debut season – said their teams will benefit from the marquee non-conference matchups.
The teams haven’t met since November 2013 and have played just nine times, including Duke’s win in the 2001 NCAA title game. The Wildcats lost their only trip to Cameron in February 1990, while the Blue Devils lost both trips to Arizona’s McKale Center in December 1987 and February 1991.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The 2028 Los Angeles Olympics kicked off a six-year countdown with the announcement of the dates for the Games’ return to the city.
The opening ceremony will be July 14. Competition will run through July 30. The Paralympic Games will be Aug. 15-27.
”This milestone makes the games real for every athlete actively training for their LA28 dream and the fans who follow the journey,” said LA chief athlete officer Janet Evans, a five-time Olympic medalist swimmer.
Los Angeles previously hosted the Olympics in 1984 and 1932.
TOKYO (AP) – Two-time Olympic gold-medal figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu is expected to step away from competitive figure skating.
He was expected to confirm his plans late on Tuesday at a news conference in Tokyo. His management company announced the event but did not confirm more details.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency cited unnamed sources ”close to the matter” in reporting Hanyu’s decision.
He won back-to-back gold medals in 2014 in Sochi and in 2018 in Pyeongchang. But he finished fourth in the Beijing Winter Games five months ago and has been noncommittal since about his future.
The 27-year-old Japanese star is also a two-time world champion, but he failed in Beijing to become the first to land a quad Axel in competition.
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