Slugging Schwarber would ‘rest up,’ skip HR Derby

    Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers MLB for ESPN.com.

Washington Nationals slugger Kyle Schwarber won’t be taking his talents to Denver for the Home Run Derby next month despite being tied for the National League lead after hitting yet another leadoff home run in the team’s 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.

While Schwarber said he hasn’t been approached about competing in the event, if he was, he said he’d pass.

“I think the best thing to do is probably let it pass and rest up and look forward to the second half,” Schwarber said after Tuesday’s game. “The biggest thing is you’re going to get sore, after the fact. You’re taking almost 13-15 minutes of full swings. You never do that in a day in your daily routine in baseball. That’s just torturing yourself. It’s definitely taxing on the body.”

Schwarber, 28, came in second in the Home Run Derby in 2018, in Washington, losing out to Bryce Harper. He said he loved the experience, but it’s not something he necessarily needs to do again.

“It was a phenomenal Home Run Derby with Bryce, in the finals,” Schwarber said. “It was definitely a moment you’re not going to forget. You kind of check that off your bucket list.”

Schwarber hit his 16th home run of June off of Rays starter Rich Hill on Tuesday, giving him 16 in the last 18 games, tied with Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa for most in that time frame. Seven home runs have come to lead off the game for the Nationals.

Schwarber is tied with Fernando Tatis Jr. for the NL lead (25) while Shohei Ohtani leads the AL — and the majors — in home runs (28). He’s already committed to participating in Home Run Derby.

“I think it’s a great experience and the people that are in it, and especially for the first time, they’re going to love it,” Schwarber said. “It’s going to be something they never forget.”

Schwarber credits an early-hitting session recently in Tampa Bay with Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long and teammate Josh Harrison as the point where things turned for him.

“Since that day,” he said, “it’s been clicking.”

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