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Julio Rodríguez is ready to put on a show for his home fans in the Home Run Derby

Yahoo Sports’ Woody Wommack spoke with Seattle Mariners CF Julio Rodriguez about his inclusion in the upcoming 2023 Home Run Derby, who would be in his all-time dream Home Run Derby, and his feelings on All-Star Weekend returning to Seattle.

Julio Rodríguez joined Yahoo Sports on behalf of Gatorade.

Video Transcript

[AUDIO LOGO]

WOODY WOMMACK: Woody Wommack here with Julio Rodriguez. Julio, big week for you. We have the All-Star Game, we have the Home Run Derby, and we have your partnership with Gatorade. Tell us a little bit about Gatorade and what you guys got going on.

JULIO RODRIGUEZ: I mean, I’m really excited to be able to join the family of Gatorade. Honestly, it’s a dream. It’s been a dream for me since I was a kid. And like being able to realize something like this, coming from where I come from, is definitely, it’s definitely something really special, really, really special.

WOODY WOMMACK: You’re training for the Home Run Derby. We know you want that crown back. You came so close last year. Tell us about that training and how it’s going.

JULIO RODRIGUEZ: Oh, I’m excited, man. I’m excited. As you were saying, like, I fell a little bit short, but at the same time, this year it’s going to be in Seattle. And definitely got, I got to go out there and do my best again.

WOODY WOMMACK: What do you expect it to be like when you step out there in front of the home fans in the Home Run Derby in the first round? What’s that feeling going to be like to you, and what would it mean to you to win that Home Run Derby in Seattle?

JULIO RODRIGUEZ: I mean, it would mean the world, it would mean the world, because this is in my home field. Like out there in front of the Mariners fans, everybody that really supports our team throughout the season and all that. So, I know it’s going to be really special once I step on the field, and I know that it’s going to be a lot of emotion and energy going through the crowd. I’m excited for that.

WOODY WOMMACK: Yeah. Being a Mariners player in the Home Run Derby, we got to ask you, of course, about Ken Griffey Jr. He had the Home Run Derby on lock back in his day. Have you talked to him? Is he giving you tips? What’s going on?

JULIO RODRIGUEZ: Haven’t been able to see Griffey much, because he’s always on the opposite side and we’re always running around. So I haven’t been able to talk to him much about the Derby, but he definitely put up some performance back then.

WOODY WOMMACK: We got people asking, are you going to flip the hat around backwards, maybe pay a little homage to what he used to do back in the day.

JULIO RODRIGUEZ: Uh, no, I feel like I will go like I did last year. I will not use a hat. Just go out there and hit.

WOODY WOMMACK: I feel you. Now, give me a give me a dream Home Run Derby field. If you were going to set like five, six guys that you want to see, all-time, any era go head to head, who would you have in there?

JULIO RODRIGUEZ: Oh, I mean, I would definitely throw Griffey in it. There was one guy that he didn’t participate, but I heard like a lot of things that every time he did in the batting practice, it was Ichiro. I would throw those two in. Josh Hamilton. I remember that he’s like one of the greatest Derbies that they have done in the past. Prince Fielder, David Ortiz.

WOODY WOMMACK: What about Manny? What about Bonds?

JULIO RODRIGUEZ: Manny, yeah, Manny would be a good one, too, my goodness. There are so many good guys to throw in there, man, but I feel I would go with those.

WOODY WOMMACK: All right, we got your match-up. Luckily, we know that you and Pete are going head to head in the first round. Have you talked to him? Is there trash talk? We’ll let you talk trash right now. What’s going on with you and Pete in that first round match-up?

JULIO RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, I feel like there is no need for like trash talk. We just got to go out there and have fun. He’s going to go out there and do his thing. I’m going to go out there and do my thing, and at the end of the day, we’re going to enjoy it. We’re going to enjoy it. I know he enjoys tough competition. I enjoy it too, after doing it for the first time last year. So I know it’s going to be a show. I know it’s going to be a show and a lot of people are going to enjoy it.

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