Cubs’ twin powers both plan to skip All-Star Home Run Derby

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Anthony Rizzo (right) and Kris Bryant are on the short list of midseason candidates for National League MVP.

NEW YORK – The Cubs might have half the National League’s starting lineup for the All-Star Game. But unlike last year, they won’t have anyone in the Home Run Derby.

First baseman Anthony Rizzo said Saturday he’s decided not to participate, and one day after taking over sole possession of the NL’s home run lead, third baseman Kris Bryant said he hasn’t changed his mind about skipping the event. Both participated last year.

“I think I made it pretty clear I didn’t really want to do it,” said Bryant, who can expect a call from the league office “encouraging” him to participate, say insiders, especially if his home run lead holds up. “I haven’t heard anything [from MLB].”

He said the event last year was so long and tiring that “I felt it the next day.” Bryant, who went to college in San Diego, also expects to have a lot of family and friends in town there for festivities surrounding the July 12 All-Star Game.

“I just really want to enjoy the moment as much as I can,” he said of the week.

Until the last few days, Rizzo said he was undecided about participating. A recent episode of recurring back pain that cost him two games made the decision easy.

“Yeah, it’s just smarter to just relax,” said Rizzo, whose 20th homer of the season tied Saturday’s game in the fourth. “Not that I wouldn’t enjoy being in it. But I’m just probably going to hang out.”

The National League side could be short on marquee names in the derby, with the Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes already opting out because of a recent wrist injury, and Colorado’s Nolan Arenado saying in recent days that he’s considering skipping it.

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