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Home Run Derby slugfest: Yankees’ Judge joins Marlins’ Stanton in lineup

Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton warms up for his at bat against the New York Mets, Tues., June 27, 2017, in Miami.
Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton warms up for his at bat against the New York Mets, Tues., June 27, 2017, in Miami. BCereijo@MiamiHerald.com

Marlins Park is one of the stingiest ballparks in the majors in terms of yielding home runs. Only AT&T Park in San Francisco has permitted fewer home runs since Marlins Park opened in 2012.

But it might not stand a chance in the Home Run Derby on July 10.

On Monday, an array of sluggers — most notably New York Yankees sensation Aaron Judge — agreed to take part in the slugging contest that serves as an appetizer to the All-Star Game one day later.

With defending champion Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins set to retain his title, it shapes up as perhaps the biggest heavyweight slugfest in Home Run Derby history.

Stanton vs. Judge is the baseball equivalent of Ali vs. Frazier, a title bout for the ages.

judge
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge watches his two-run home run during the sixth inning of the team's baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Wed., June 28, 2017, in Chicago. Nam Y. Huh AP

“It’s the kind of a thing where we both have to talk about all the time but don’t even now each other, or said hello,” said Stanton, the defending Home Run Derby champ. “It’s like the twin you’ve never met, I guess. Everyone’s comparing us to each other. We don’t even know each other.”

Judge leads the majors with 27 home runs and holds the Statcast record for the hardest-hit (121.1) and longest (495 feet) home runs this season.

Stanton has put 21 out, will have home ballpark advantage and hit the longest home run (504 feet at Colorado’s Coors Field) during the relatively young Statcast age.

“I’m pretty sure the excitement will be through the roof,” Judge said.

Said Stanton: “I think it will be the most exciting one in a long time, actually. Some good lefties in there to get that upper deck. Power righties also. So it’s going to be good.”

The Marlins’ Justin Bour, Yankees’ Gary Sanchez, Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger and Twins’ Miguel Sano are also planning to participate. Colorado outfielder Charlie Blackmon and Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas round out the field.

“I’m going to try to wear out the upper deck,” said Bour, who has deposited many a home run in the right-field second deck at Marlins Park.

Marcell Ozuna, who was voted into the All-Star Game as a starting outfielder, is convinced Stanton will hold off Judge and retain his title.

“I know he’s going to win,” Ozuna said. “For sure. Aaron Judge’s first Home Run Derby. Stanton has been in three. You know what he can do.”

Stanton said he doesn’t sense any extra pressure with Judge — or any of the other participants — in the picture.

“Honestly, not at all,” Stanton said. “I’m going to have fun. I don’t care. I’ve already won one. So I’m really just having fun. It’s not life or death.”

Stanton intends to bring back Pat Shine, a former Marlins assistant coach who pitched to him in last year’s Derby, to throw to him again. Bour has selected Marlins outfield coach Lorenzo Bundy to pitch to him.

“I think it’s going to be a great event,” Bour said. “The ball is going to be flying everywhere. You don’t really do this thing just to compete. [But] if Stanton or I win, that would be great.”

LEE HONORED

Outfielder Braxton Lee, one of two players the Marlins obtained from the Rays in the Adeiny Hechavarria trade, was named the Southern League Player of the Week his first week in the Marlins organization.

Lee hit .571 with a .609 on-base percentage and .905 slugging percentage his first week at Double A Jacksonville.

COMING UP

▪ Tuesday: Marlins RHP Jose Urena (6-3, 3.42) at St. Louis Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn (6-5, 3.90), 2:15 p.m., Busch Stadium.

▪ Wednesday: Marlins RHP Edinson Volquez (4-8, 3.97) at Cardinals RHP Mike Leake (6-6, 2.97), 8:15 p.m., Busch Stadium.

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