Updated: Bulls' Mahtook joins Home Run Derby lineup

Jul. 14, 2014 @ 10:58 AM

Durham Bulls outfieder Mikie Mahtook will replace Toledo's Mike Hessman for tonight's Triple-A Home Run Derby, the International League announced Monday morning.

Hessman, the IL's all-time home run leader, has been sidelined by a knee injury. He will miss both the Home Run Derby and Wednesday's Triple-A All-Star Game at the DBAP. He has 15 home runs this season.

The 24-year-old Mahtook has eight home runs this season, all within his last 51 games. This marks the third season in a row he's competed in a midseason minor league all-star game but this will be his first home run derby.

On Sunday, the league announced that Indianapolis Indians infielder Matt Hague will replace Dan Johnson for the International League squad.  Johnson, who won the IL MVP award in 2010 as a member of the Durham Bulls, was promoted from Triple-A Buffalo to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday. He has 17 home runs this sason for Buffalo.

Hague, 28, was selected by Pittsburgh in the ninth round of the 2008 draft, and named Indianapolis’ team MVP in both 2011 and 2013. The Oklahoma State alumnus made his Major League debut in 2012, appearing in 30 games, his only MLB service time until appearing in three games this season. He has slugged 13 homers so far this season.

Hague and Mahtook join Jesus Aguilar of Columbus in the Derby. The Pacific Coast League will counter with Reno’s Mike Jacobs, Omaha’s Francisco Pena, and Las Vegas’ Allan Dysktra.

The Home Run Derby is set for 6:30 p.m. and will consist of three rounds. In each of the first two rounds, participants will receive eight outs. For the first seven outs (any swing that does not result in a home run), the hitters will use their traditional wood bats. For the final out of the round, the sluggers will swing with high-performance composite bats like those used in collegiate baseball.

The championship round will consist of a five-out showdown between two finalists in which composite bats will again be in play for the final out.

STARTING PITCHERS ANNOUNCED

Buffalo Bisons RHP Liam Hendriks will face New Orleans Zephyrs RHP Elih Villanueva in the Triple-A All-Star game, which is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. Wednesday at the DBAP and will be televised by MLB Network.

Hendriks (7-1, 2.19) leads all International League pitchers with a 0.91 WHIP and the fewest walks (0.70) and baserunners (8.77) per nine innings of work. His 2.19 ERA is the 2nd-best mark in the IL. Hendriks won his first six decisions of the season and has allowed two or fewer earned runs in eleven of his 14 starts. He began the season with 28.1 consecutive innings of work without issuing a walk. On the season Hendriks has allowed just seven free passes to 74 strikeouts in 94.1 IP innings of work.

Hendriks has also made three starts for the Toronto Blue Jays this season, posting a record of 1-0. He has 33 career appearances in the Major Leagues, including 30 with Minnesota between 2011-13.

In 19 starts for New Orleans this season, Elih Villanueva (8-6, 3.92) has allowed more than three runs only three times, though he has allowed 10 earned runs over 3.2 innings in his last two starts. He entered last week tied for fourth in the PCL in victories and seventh in ERA, and opponents have batted .242 against him, the eighth-best mark in the league.

Villanueva became the New Orleans career leader in strikeouts on June 18, and his 26 wins in a Zephyrs uniform are just three shy of equaling the franchise mark.

A 27th round selection by the Marlins in the 2008 draft, Villanueva previously earned Southern League All-Star recognition in 2010 with Double-A Jacksonville, when he was the Marlins’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year.