Davis selected to crush long balls at Home Run Derby
BALTIMORE -- Arguably baseball's best story the first half of the season, Orioles slugger Chris Davis will take his talents to the Home Run Derby.
Davis, named the American League's starting first baseman by a landslide with 8,272,243 votes, was selected for the Derby by Yankees second baseman and AL Home Run Derby captain Robinson Cano on Monday night. Davis entered Monday with a Major League-leading 33 home runs and 85 RBIs, already matching his entire total from 2012, and said Sunday he absolutely would participate if picked to be part of the AL team.
"As much as the All-Star Game, as much as that means to me, as a power hitter, it's something that I've watched since I was a little kid," Davis said of the Derby, "and something that I've always wanted to do."
Davis joins Cano, who has 20 homers as of Monday, and Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder who entered Monday at 15. Cano said he would select a fourth and final Derby participant when the All-Star rosters are finalized. The National League squad was picked by captain David Wright and consists of Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez -- who has 24 homers -- Minnesota's Michael Cuddyer (15) and Washington's Bryce Harper (13).
Davis isn't concerned about the Home Run Derby altering his swing, and the 27-year-old -- who has amazingly gone deep off every possible pitch and location -- will treat it like another round of batting practice.
"I do Home Run Derby every day in BP," Davis said. "The biggest thing for me is to not go out there and get hurt. I'm not going to swing and try to blow out my back. Every day in BP, we get loose, and then the last few rounds are, 'All right, let's see who can hit it further.' I've been practicing for a few years."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who prefers the actual All-Star Game to the festivities leading up to it, said Sunday he has no problem with Davis participating.
"If Chris wants to do it, that's fine. I'm all for it," Showalter said. "I did tell him that if he gets sent to it, realize that a ball that scrapes the fence for a home run counts as much as one of those 'wow' home runs."
Davis has hit plenty of "wow" home runs, and he's the only player in baseball history to have 25 or more doubles, 30 or more home runs and 85 or more RBIs prior to the All-Star Game, which started in 1933. Davis -- who has already set a club record -- entered Monday tied for the fourth-most homers in the first half in AL history and he has amassed 59 extra-base hits in 89 games, putting him on pace for 107 for the season. That mark would shatter the previous Orioles record of 92, set by current special assistant Brady Anderson in 1996.
Davis, a first-time All-Star, will be the third first baseman in Orioles history to start an All-Star Game, and he was the overall leader in the fan vote.
The 2013 Home Run Derby -- part of Gatorade All-Star Workout Day -- will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 15. In Canada, the derby will be televised by Rogers Sportsnet.
Fans can also download the official MLB.com Home Run Derby Game, featuring 24 sluggers from the 2010-2012 Home Run Derby events. Connect and challenge gamers on the worldwide leaderboards. Available for free on the Apple App Store: atmlb.com/12S7nch
The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.