NEW YORK -- Robinson Cano wasn't able to spend much time at home plate during Monday's Chevrolet Home Run Derby, clearing the fences just four times, but a decision he made as the captain of the American League squad had a huge impact on the night.
It was Cano's call to have Yoenis Cespedes of the Athletics travel to Citi Field for the festivities, and Cano was rewarded with a front-row seat for a memorable power display as Cespedes outblasted the Nationals' Bryce Harper in the final round to claim the title.
"He was hitting the ball really far," Cano said of Cespedes, who hit a total of 32 homers at an average distance of 405 feet. "That guy is strong; unbelievable. That was a great show."
The American League has won four straight Derbies, and Cano has had a hand in the last three; he won the title in 2011 at Chase Field and was the league captain last year at Kauffman Stadium, where the Tigers' Prince Fielder was the victor.
Cano again tabbed his dad, Jose -- a former pitcher who briefly pitched in the Majors with the Astros -- to toss to him from the mound on Monday. The sweet-swinging Yankee registered a distance of 406 feet on his longest homer, a shot to right-center field.
Wearing the captain's "C" on his blue and orange AL batting-practice top, Cano also clubbed homers with distances of 349, 366 and 387 feet in the event, shattering his bat on one home run swing.
"At least I hit four this time," said Cano, who was blanked in last year's Derby in Kansas City.
That 2012 experience was difficult for Cano, who was booed lustily by the crowd because he did not select the Royals' Billy Butler for the AL squad.
Cano heard some sarcastic applause from the crowd on Monday at Citi Field -- likely from hometown Mets fans -- after his final out, but he thought his reception in Queens had been mostly positive.
"It was way better," Cano said. "The last thing you want is just to come up and get booed. It's not the same thing, where you have your crowd on your side. At least you get excited and you know your fans are there for you."
While Cano was unable to move into the second round, he knew he had made a good pick in Cespedes, whose first-round performance of 17 homers was an early Derby highlight. Cano said he called on Cespedes only after he was turned down for the final spot by other All-Stars.
"You know what? It's good to give a chance to a guy that didn't make the All-Star Game so he can get the experience," Cano said. "Now he's got a truck. I hope he gives me at least two tires."
Cano became the first Yankees player and the first second baseman in history to participate in the Derby on three occasions. He said that he was not sure if he would want to serve as the AL's captain in 2014 for the Derby at Minnesota's Target Field but said that he might consider participating in another Derby down the line.
"I might do it again," Cano said. "Like I always say, this is one of the fun things about the All-Star Game."
The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
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.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.