Cabrera could join Fielder in contest if stiff back permits
CLEVELAND -- Tigers fans can count on seeing at least one of their baseball-crushing heroes in the Home Run Derby at Citi Field next week. It could be two, depending on whether the stiffness in Miguel Cabrera's back eases up.
As of now, the American League squad already features Prince Fielder among its four players. In picking his three Derby-mates, AL captain and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano based his first selection on experience and went with Fielder, who has participated in four Derbies and won two, including last year's in Kansas City. The AL side will also include Baltimore's Chris Davis, who leads the Major Leagues with 33 homers, and a player to be named later.
That player might be Cabrera, who told MLB.com after the Tigers' 4-2 win over Cleveland on Monday that he had spoken with Cano about the open spot.
"He talked to me one week ago for that," Cabrera said. "I say it depends how my back's feeling. If that's OK, I will do it. But he asked me already, so we're waiting to see how my back's feeling. Hopefully, I can do it."
Whereas Cano is waiting to make his final selection official, National League captain and Mets third baseman David Wright revealed all three players who will round out his squad. In addition to Wright, who will swing for the fences in his home yard, the NL lineup is composed of Colorado sluggers Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer, and Bryce Harper, the 20-year-old making headlines in the nation's capital.
Through 88 games, Fielder has bashed 15 homers while batting .264 and driving in 66 runs. In last year's Home Run Derby, he hit 28 home runs -- including 12 in the final round -- to defeat Toronto's Jose Bautista. Fielder took part in the Home Run Derby three times as a member of the Brewers, winning for the first time in 2009.
"I want to have fun, but obviously, you want to win," said Fielder, who didn't get a chance to defend his crown in 2010. "We're all competitors. I just want to win to have my boys stand up there with me. That's the only reason I like winning, so that they can experience it. It's really fun for them, and I have fun seeing how much fun it is for them."
Since making his Major League debut in 2005, Fielder has 275 home runs. In four Derby appearances, he has 63.
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 U.S. beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday. 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 2010-12 Home Run Derby events. Connect and challenge gamers on the worldwide leaderboards. The free app is available at the Apple App Store.
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, visit allstargame.com.
An announcement regarding Cano's final selection is expected on Tuesday. Plenty of fans will be hoping it will, in fact, be Cabrera, who leads the league with 28 homers. Last year's AL Most Valuable Player and Triple Crown winner also paces baseball with a .364 batting average and 90 RBIs, but the stiffness in his back has been a problem lately. He missed a game in Toronto last Thursday, and the discomfort is apparently still bothering him.
Cabrera has 349 career homers. In two Derby appearances (with Detroit in 2010 and Florida in 2006), he has gone deep 27 times without ever making it to the final round.
Regardless of whether the AL's last spot goes to Cabrera, the Tigers will have at least one Derby representative in Fielder, who will be seeking to become the second player to take home back-to-back titles, following Ken Griffey Jr., who accomplished the feat in 1998 and 1999. If Cabrera joins Fielder, Detroit will have two players in the Derby for the first time.
"I tell him, 'Maybe I'll do it, but you've got to put Prince in there,'" Cabrera said. "'You've got to put Prince first, then me.' He won last year, so he deserves to be there again."