Kris Bryant to skip Home Run Derby but Anthony Rizzo wants back in

MIAMI — For the eighth consecutive year, the All-Star Home Run Derby will be held without the reigning National League MVP.

Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant said Friday he has been asked to participate but plans to decline.

“Especially with it being here,” Bryant said from the visitors’ clubhouse at Miami’s Marlins Park. “It’s definitely not a hitter’s park. So it would be a tough Home Run Derby. I think I’d like to do it again at some point. Just this year, based on the last two years [of deep playoff runs], the body could use a little bit of rest.”

Bryant, who got two days off last week because of admitted fatigue, participated in the 2015 Home Run Derby with teammate Anthony Rizzo, but both declined to participate last year.

Kris Bryant homers in the first inning of last year's All-Star game.

Rizzo said Friday he hopes he gets invited again this year if he’s selected as an All-Star for a fourth straight time.

“It’s in Miami, so I’d have to give it thought because it’s my hometown, my home area,” said Rizzo, who grew up just north of Miami in Broward County. “It was cool to do it the first time, and last year it was really nice to be able to relax and enjoy [watching]. But if I was asked here, I would definitely consider it.”

Bryant led NL third basemen in All-Star voting, and Rizzo was a close second behind the Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman in the most recently released voting update.

Bryant, who homered at Marlins Park in the Cubs’ victory Thursday, said he’ll keep an open mind if invited in future years.

“Absolutely. I’d love to do it again,” he said.

The last reigning MVP to participate in the Derby was the St. Louis Cardinals’ Albert Pujols in 2009.

“I’m sure there’s a bunch of other [good candidates],” Bryant said. “You look at [Yankees outfielder] Aaron Judge. He should be in it. And obviously [the Marlins’ Giancarlo] Stanton and [Dodgers’ Cody] Bellinger. It’ll be a fun Home Run Derby this year if those guys do it.”

Hendricks close to throwing?

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Friday that injured pitcher Kyle Hendricks has progressed enough in recent days that he might begin playing catch again as soon as Saturday or Sunday.

Hendricks, who has been on the disabled list since June 5 because of tendinitis in his pitching hand, hasn’t thrown since a setback more than a week ago. Last year’s major-league ERA leader could be on track to start a brief minor-league rehab assignment before the All-Star break if he starts throwing this weekend.

This and that

Infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist (wrist) became eligible to return from the DL on Friday but still was not ready to play in a rehab game.

Ian Happ’s four hits Thursday raised his season average 25 points in one night (to .246). Then he added a double in the first and a single in the fifth on Friday.

Follow me on Twitter @GDubCub.

Email: gwittenmyer@suntimes.com

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