ARLINGTON (AP) – Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton is open to the idea of participating in the Home Run Derby at the All-Star game for the first time since his memorable 28 homers in the first round at old Yankee Stadium three years ago.
Hamilton turned down taking part in the past two derbys, but said Sunday that he would consider being part of the new team derby if asked by American League captain David Ortiz.
“It’s a really cool concept, the whole team situation. We’ll see,” Hamilton said. “Yeah, I’d definitely consider it. I’m not saying for sure I’d do it, but it’d just be a fun thing to take part in the first one like that ever.”
Hamilton said he hadn’t spoken with Ortiz about the competition.
Hamilton was selected as an AL All-Star starter by fans for the fourth consecutive year, even after the outfielder missed six weeks early in the season with a broken bone in his upper right arm. He went into Sunday night’s game against Florida hitting .301 with 10 homers and 40 RBIs in 46 games, after homering twice Saturday night.
In the 2008 derby, Hamilton’s first round included homers on 13 consecutive pitches. Though that is what everyone remembers, Minnesota’s Justin Mourneau actually was the derby champion that year after outslugging the exhausted Hamilton 5-3 in the final round.
Ortiz, last year’s derby champion, will pick three fellow AL players to go against an NL squad captained by 2009 champion Prince Fielder from Milwaukee during All-Star festivities in Arizona.
“The stress is not there of just the individual thing. If you go out and take easy swings and not try to kill every ball, you’ve got guys there backing up you,” Hamilton said. “It’s an interesting and fun situation.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)