Soto Edges Rodríguez to Win Derby

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A guy who had already been hogging all of the baseball headlines over the weekend gave us another reason to talk about him Monday night.

Juan Soto bested Julio Rodríguez in the finals of the 2022 All-Star Game Home Run Derby to capture the crown. Soto hit 15 home runs in the regular round and another four during his bonus time for a total of 19 and a “walk-off” win, adding an emphatic bat flip as a punctuation mark.

It was Rodríguez who stole the show in the first two rounds. The 21-year-old rookie was the first competitor to bat on the night and got things going with a whopping 32 home runs in the first round to defeat Corey Seager. He then followed that up with 31 bombs in the semifinal round to beat Pete Alonso, who had been gunning for his third straight title.

Rodríguez finished the night with a total of 81 home runs, which is the second-most ever in a single Derby. He’s the only competitor ever to tally multiple 30+ homer rounds.

Meanwhile, Soto bested José Ramírez in the first round and in the semifinals took down 42-year-old Albert Pujols when he slugged three home runs during his bonus time. Pujols had shocked Kyle Schwarber in the first round before being knocked out by Soto.

In addition to collecting the first Home Run Derby title of his career, Soto also registered the longest home run on Monday for the second Derby in a row with a 482-foot dinger. That’s after he had a Statcast-era record 520-foot mammoth shot last year at Coors Field.

Soto isn’t starting Tuesday’s All-Star Game for the National League but no doubt will enter the action in the middle innings. Here’s a look at the full lineups for the NL and the AL, which will feature Clayton Kershaw taking the ball at his home stadium for the Senior Circuit and Shane McClanahan toeing the slab for the Junior Circuit.

Trout Swims to IL

We already knew Mike Trout wasn’t going to participate in this year’s Midsummer Classic. Now we know he’s officially landed on the injured list.

The Angels placed Trout on the 10-day IL on Monday with what is being called left ribcage inflammation. The club had previously referred to Trout’s ailment as back spasms.

Trout initially had been slated to return to the Halos’ lineup on Saturday following a two-game absence, but he had to be scratched after his injury flared up while he was hitting pregame. Ultimately, he missed the final four contests prior to the All-Star break. The injury first started bothering him two weeks ago.

“It is frustrating for sure because… I can’t really pinpoint what caused it,” Trout said Monday. “It just started bothering me and just one of them things, unfortunately. It was getting better and then once I started swinging again, it kind of acted up.”

Trout will be eligible to return this weekend. He indicated Monday that he wasn’t terribly worried about the injury, but it’s not clear at this time whether he’ll be ready for activation when first eligible.

Taylor Ward has slid over from right field to center to cover for Trout, with Jo Adell occupying right. Adell has gone 3-for-16 with one RBI and one stolen base over that stretch.

Surgery for Sale

The Red Sox announced Monday that the left pinky fracture Chris Sale suffered Sunday required surgery.

Specifically, the left-hander “underwent an open reduction and internal fixation of a left fifth finger proximal phalanx fracture,” the team said in a press release. It’s a procedure which involves the insertion of hardware in order to stabilize the fractured bones.

The Red Sox did not reveal a timetable for Sale’s return. Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com and Chad Jennings of The Athletic were both told by club sources that they are not ruling out a return from the southpaw later this season.

Cotillo also had an exchange on Twitter with Chris Geary, an orthopedic surgeon at Signature Healthcare in Brockton, Massachusetts. For what it’s worth, Geary speculated of Sale that it would be “probably at least 4-6 weeks until he is allowed to pick up a ball.”

It will probably be a little while before we have a better idea as to whether Sale would have a chance to make it back for a meaningful contribution at some point in the second half. Considering that he already wasn’t fully built back up yet stamina-wide and will probably have to start basically from scratch again in a few weeks, a normal workload when/if he does return doesn’t seem realistic.

Sale, of course, missed the first three-plus months of this season with a stress fracture in his ribs. He’s made a total of only 11 starts for the Red Sox since 2020.

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Quick Hits: Frankie Montas (shoulder) has officially been cleared to rejoin the Athletics’ rotation on Thursday against the Tigers. … The Padres and Joe Musgrove's representatives recently resumed contract extension negotiations and "there is optimism the deal could be completed this week," Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune has reported. … Mike Moustakas has been activated from the COVID-19 injured list. … The Giants have acquired Alex Young from the Guardians for cash considerations.