Fielder to take part in Home Run Derby
Prince Fielder has spent most of his first season in the American League batting closer to .300 than he has to the home-run leaders. That didn’t mean he was going to be passed up for the State Farm Home Run Derby.
The hemming and hawing from Fielder on Sunday after All-Star rosters were announced strongly suggested he was going to take part. On Monday, it became official when AL derby captain Robinson Cano named him to the team for the annual slugfest, set to take place next Monday night at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
It’ll be the third Home Run Derby for Fielder, who has a flair for clearing the fences when it takes place at a division rival’s park. He won the 2009 event when it was held at Busch Stadium in St. Louis and he was a Brewers slugger.
Fielder served as the National League captain as last year’s Derby and made it to the second round before losing out to eventual champion Cano and runner-up Adrian Gonzalez.
Fielder has indicated his interest remained over the past couple weeks as it became apparent his lead in All-Star balloting among AL first basemen was going to stick. The fact that he changed leagues had no impact on him. He didn’t confirm it when asked Sunday or Monday, but the coy nature of his answers gave a pretty strong indication he was taking part.
Fielder entered Monday’s series opener against the Twins with 12 home runs to go with a .296 batting average and 53 RBIs. Two dozen American League hitters entered the day with more homers than Fielder, but just a handful have the track record that Fielder has posted over the past seven years, and fewer have the derby history that he does.
Fielder and Cano will join two-time AL home-run champion Jose Bautista and Angels sophomore slugger Mark Trumbo on the team. Among those left off was Miguel Cabrera, who took part in the 2010 derby but wasn’t sure when asked Sunday if he would take part.
Fielder becomes the ninth Tiger to take part in the derby. They’ve combined for 33 home runs, but no titles.