LEADING OFF: Derby day; timely break for Cubs, Rangers
A look at what's happening all around the majors today:
Todd Frazier will try to defend his title in the All-Star Home Run Derby at Petco Park. Frazier won last year's derby in Cincinnati while he was with the Reds, becoming the second player to win the long-ball competition in his home park. He edged Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson 15-14 with a late surge in the final round, and he'll have to hold off another L.A. rookie in Corey Seager to win this year. The field also includes Mark Trumbo, Carlos Gonzalez, Adam Duvall, Robinson Cano, Giancarlo Stanton and San Diego's Wil Myers.
Two of baseball's best teams in the first half, the Cubs and Rangers, couldn't have hid the All-Star break at a better time. Chicago limped into the break 6-15 over its past 21 games, and of course many of the Cubs key players won't get much of a rest – Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester are all headed to San Diego as All-Stars.
The AL-leading Rangers are only sending Cole Hamels and Ian Desmond to Petco Park, which might be good news for a team that lost nine of 12 to end the first half.
''There are points in the season where they don't look so well, don't feel so well. Today capped all that off. Hopefully, that's the bottom,'' manager Jeff Banister said. ''There's some times when you're not playing well, you kind of hope for a rainout. We get a four-day rainout.''
Michael Brantley will begin a minor league rehab assignment Monday. The Indians outfielder has missed most of the season with a sore right shoulder following offseason surgery. He's hit .231 in 11 games this season and hasn't played since May 9.