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Myers excited for 1st Home Run Derby

Padres All-Star selects his younger brother to pitch
July 7, 2016

PHOENIX -- Wil Myers has been showcasing his prodigious power at Petco Park for the better part of the past two months. Tonight, he'll get to do so with the entire baseball world watching.For the first time in his career, Myers has been selected to participate in the T-Mobile Home

PHOENIX -- Wil Myers has been showcasing his prodigious power at Petco Park for the better part of the past two months. Tonight, he'll get to do so with the entire baseball world watching.
For the first time in his career, Myers has been selected to participate in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, which will take place tonight in San Diego. It'll be the first appearance by a Padre in the event since Adrian Gonzalez took part in the 2009 edition in St. Louis.
T-Mobile Home Run Derby coverage begins at 5 p.m. PT on ESPN, simulcast live on
:: Complete Home Run Derby coverage ::
"It's something I always looked forward to when I was younger," Myers said earlier this month. "To be able to do it at the highest level would be pretty cool."
Of course, this year's Derby holds a bit of added significance, given that Myers will be representing the hometown Padres, as Gary Sheffield and Fred McGriff did in 1992.
Play the Home Run Derby game
Entering the All-Star break, Myers has launched 19 homers -- 11 of which came in June, marking a Padres franchise record. He credits his recent power surge with a tweak in his swing mechanics. Hitting coach Alan Zinter suggested a minor leg kick to improve Myers' timing, and it's had profound effects.

Myers' brother Beau, who recently completed his freshman season at Appalachian State, will serve as Wil's pitcher for the event. Beau caught a flight to Los Angeles Thursday afternoon, and the two took early batting practice together Friday at Dodger Stadium.
"Ever since I can remember, I've always been at Wil's games and running around," Beau said, after being reached by phone Wednesday night. "It's every kid's dream to go to an All-Star Game, just as a fan. That's the dream, but to get to be on the field, and to pitch to Wil, that's special."
Beau has thrown batting practice plenty of times to other hitters over the years.
"I've done it enough to know what I'm doing," Beau said. "The only thing is doing it now in front of all those people."
Wil Myers has never competed in a formal home run derby at any level. In 2012, he was named to appear in the Triple-A derby, but missed out because of his commitment to the Futures Game.
Myers said it's been a dream of his to compete in the Major League edition of the event, and he's got plenty of places to turn for help. Teammate Matt Kemp competed in 2011 in Arizona, and bench coach Mark McGwire participated on seven different occasions -- including winning the crown the last time it was held in San Diego in 1992.
"If you watch batting practice, the way he swings, the ball tends to leave the ballpark a lot more," McGwire said of Myers' chances. "Also, the fact that he's publicly said he'd be ecstatic to be invited says a lot to me."
As for the unproven notion that hitters tend to slump after competing in the Derby, the Padres aren't buying it.
"I don't have any hesitation," manager Andy Green said. "We're encouraging him to do whatever he wants to do. ... I'm sure it'd be a lot of fun for the fans of San Diego to have somebody in the hometown uniform to cheer for."
Both McGwire and Green stressed the importance of developing a rhythm with the batting-practice pitcher -- which, in Myers' case, can be viewed in a couple different ways.
On one hand, Wil has never faced Beau before. But on the other hand, who better to develop a rapport with than your younger brother?
Wil isn't too concerned. Would he love to win for the hometown fans? Absolutely. But he's just as excited to have the chance to share the moment with Beau.
"It's been a dream of mine to be in [the Home Run Derby]," Myers said. "... I'm going to pick my brother to throw for me. I think it'll be a cool story, win or lose. If I lose, I'll go down with my brother, and I'm OK with that."
Here's how it will work.
The players were seeded one through eight based on home runs totals through Wednesday.
As the top seed, Mark Trumbo takes on No. 8 Corey Seager in the first round, with the winner of that head-to-head battle facing the winner of No. 4 Robinson Cano and No. 5 Giancarlo Stanton in the semifinals.
On the other side of the bracket, No. 3 seed Adam Duvall faces No. 6 Myers and No. 2 Todd Frazier meets No. 7 Carlos Gonzalez in the first round.
The winners of those two dinger duels will meet in the other semi. Then the last two sluggers standing hack for the hardware in the final round.
And now for the rules:
• Single-elimination tournament in which the winner of each matchup advances and the loser of each matchup is eliminated.
• If the second batter hits more home runs than the first batter in any matchup, he will be declared the winner and not attempt to hit additional home runs.
• Four minutes per batter for each round. Clock starts with the release of the first pitch. In the first round and semifinals, each batter is entitled to one 45-second "time out." In the finals, each batter is entitled to two 45-second "time-outs."
• Thirty seconds of bonus time will be awarded for two home runs that each equal or exceed 440 feet.
• Ties in any round will be broken by a 60-second swing-off with no stoppage of time or additional time added. If a tie remains after the swing-off, batters will engage in successive three-swing swing-offs until there is a winner.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.