Brewers slugger and reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich will not participate in the 2019 Home Run Derby. Yelich, who is not in Milwaukee’s lineup Sunday, will skip the event with a back injury, MLB announced. Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman will take his place.
Prior to Sunday’s game Brewers manager Craig Counsell told reporters, including MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, that Yelich had reached his “red line” and needed a break. From McCalvy:
“Just looking at him, I felt like we were at the red line with him, so to speak, and that a day here, he needs it,” Counsell said. “It’s important that we don’t get past that red line. So that’s where we’re at.”
Asked whether Yelich attempted to negotiate that decision, Counsell said, “I mean, I think it’s just the right decision.”
Yelich has missed several games throughout this season with back tightness, though Counsell did not say the back was the reason for Sunday’s off-day. His 31 home runs and .707 slugging percentage lead baseball.
As for Chapman, the slugger went into Sunday hitting .265/.353/.534 with 21 home runs in 89 games this season. Those 21 homers are tied for sixth in the big leagues. Chapman will be the first A’s player to take part in the Home Run Derby since Josh Donaldson in 2014.