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Fernando Tatis Jr. cites shoulder in passing up Derby invitation

Jun 21, 2021; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (left) and first baseman Jake Cronenworth (9) celebrate on the field after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 21, 2021; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (left) and first baseman Jake Cronenworth (9) celebrate on the field after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

As badly as Fernando Tatis Jr. wants to join this year’s Home Run Derby festivities, the San Diego Padres’ star shortstop said Friday that he has to focus on “bigger priorities” — namely, his health — in turning down the opportunity.

The 22-year-old Tatis is tied for third in the majors with 22 homers, a figure that also has him tied for National League lead, and he’s likely a shoo-in to be in Denver as the starter at short for the All-Star Game on July 13.

Citing a continuing injury concern to his left shoulder, however, Tatis will not take part in the Derby on July 12 at Coors Field, a stadium famous for allowing many home runs.

The third-year player has missed 19 of the Padres’ 77 games this season, mostly due to a partially dislocated left shoulder. Tatis left a game on Saturday early because of a recurrence of the injury and sat out on Sunday, but he returned the next day.

It’s pretty hard (to say no). It’s something you always dream about. Something I would dream about as a kid,” Tatis told the San Diego Union Tribune, referring to his Derby aspirations. “I feel like there are bigger priorities right now. That is my health.”

Other players of note who will not take part in the Derby are Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge.

Guerrero began play Friday leading the majors with 25 home runs, and Judge, who led the American League with 52 in 2017, has 16 this season.

–Field Level Media