Indians' Carlos Santana to Participate in 2019 Home Run Derby in Cleveland

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2019

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 12: Carlos Santana #41 of the Cleveland Indians rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run off Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds during the eighth inning at Progressive Field on June 12, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana confirmed he will compete in the 2019 MLB Home Run Derby on July 8 at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

"They told me today," Santana said Tuesday, per Cleveland.com's Hayden Grove. "They told me today that I’m going to the Home Run Derby if I accepted, and I said yes."

A switch-hitter, Santana will bat left-handed for the competition. Fourteen of his 17 home runs have come against right-handed pitching this season.

The Indians have battled a number of injuries to their starting pitchers in 2019, an issue exacerbated by the lack of additions to the offense in the offseason.

Acquiring Santana in a three-team deal with the Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays proved to be a shrewd move, though. The 33-year-old is setting career highs in batting average (.291) and slugging percentage (.538), and he has a good shot to hit a new personal best in home runs. He finished with 34 homers in 2016.

Santana's involvement in the MLB All-Star festivities shouldn't be limited to the Home Run Derby. His 2.6 WAR is first among American League first basemen, per FanGraphs.

Sportsnet's Hazel Mae reported Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is in the Derby field, and he's the only other competitor confirmed so far.

Santana is looking to make it two years in a row that a player from the host team is the last man standing in the Derby. Bryce Harper won the event at Nationals Park a season ago.