SANTO DOMINGO, Domican Republic -- For the first time in the Caribbean Series, a Home Run Derby will take place on Wednesday night at the Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal.
Originally, major league baseball stars Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera and David Ortiz were due to compete, but the MLB players’ union stepped in and barred them from participating because they would not be insured in the event of injury.
The only MLB player who stood a chance of competing in the derby was Puerto Rican Kennys Vargas because, as an active Cangrejeros de Santurce player competing in the Caribbean Series, he has the necessary insurance in case he gets hurt. However, the Minnesota Twins did not give him permission to participate.
— José F. Rivera (@josefriverap) February 3, 2016
As it stands, the Caribbean Series HR Derby will include Cubans Alfredo Despaigne, Yosvani Alarcon and Felix Perez, the latter of whom plays for the Tigres de Aragua, along with U.S. born Cyle Hankerd of the Mexican champions Maztlan.
Nevertheless, the biggest attraction of the Home Run derby will be retired player Vladimir Guerrero, an idol to many in the Dominican Republic.
Guerrero, who had a .318 lifetime average, 2,590 hits, 1,496 RBIs and 449 homers in 16 major league seasons, will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time in the class of 2017.