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Mets Notebook: Alonso Foundation to donate winnings from Home Run Derby

Pete Alonso is giving back. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Pete Alonso is giving back. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
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PITTSBURGH — Six years into his big league career, still maintains his childlike enthusiasm for baseball. The Mets first baseman remembers watching the Home Run Derby as a kid in Tampa, hoping he could someday put on a show like the sluggers of his childhood.

So it should come as no surprise that Alonso plans to participate in the Derby again this year when it’s held July 15 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

In an era where many of the game’s biggest stars regularly opt out of the Home Run Derby, Alonso has practically become the spokesperson for the event, committing to participate for the fifth time since his rookie season in 2019.

“It’s a full stadium — a sold-out stadium — of people all there to see the same thing,” Alonso said Monday at PNC Park. “I think the coolest part about our game is seeing balls hit hard and far. I think it’s a great event. It’s taking really fun batting practice.”

The bigger purpose for Alonso is the platform events like this provide to give back to baseball communities.

“The whole root of this, I really like doing it. It’s fun to participate because growing up watching, it’s like, man, if I have an opportunity, like to do it, I’m going to do it,” Alonso said. “Being in this position, it’s like, I want to be able to do this, this year. I want to be able to donate whatever winnings I get.”

A two-time winner, Alonso regularly donates his prize money to charitable causes through his foundation. In previous years, Alonso has donated to Wounded Warriors and Tunnel to Towers.

This year, the Alonso Foundation plans to use any money won to refurbish youth baseball fields. The first baseman wants to inspire kids the way the Derby participants of the past inspired him.

“I want to help inspire youth by having the funds go to refurbishing fields and like getting kids out there across the U.S.,” Alonso said. “We want to be able to take care and redo some fields, or redo to kind of rejuvenate the love for baseball and get kids out there. So it’s really exciting, because taking myself back to 7-, 8-year-old me, it’s a dream come true.”

MLB distributes $2.5 million in winnings to Derby participants. The winner takes home $1 million and the runner-up collects $750,000. The other six competitors split the rest.

Alonso, who leads the Mets with 18 home runs this year, will bring back former hitting coach Dave Jauss to pitch to him. Alonso used Jauss as his BP pitcher when he won his second Derby in 2021 and while the coach is no longer in the organization, the two have remained close.

A third Derby title would tie Alonso with Ken Griffey Jr. for the most wins in the event.

“It’ll be a show,” said Mets manager Carlos Mendoza. “It’s something that he’s done and that he enjoys. He loves doing it, he’s won it, so yeah, I’ll be cheering for him.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Right-hander Sean Reid-Foley (shoulder impingement) played catch from 90 feet Monday. It was his third time playing catch since being shut down two weeks ago. The Mets are hoping he can rejoin the team after the All-Star break to shore up the bullpen, but they aren’t counting on a quick return.

“You have to stretch him out and then do some bullpen sessions, maybe live BP or two right into a rehab assignment,” Mendoza said. “So we’ll see.”

Outfielder Starling Marte (knee) will undergo follow-up imaging this week.

Right-hander Kodai Senga will make his second rehab start for Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

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