Baseball / Sports

Dodgers' Yasiel Puig takes long view, enters All-Star home run derby

DETROIT -- America, get ready for theatrics: Yasiel Puig is in the home run derby.

Mike Trout said no to the derby, but Puig said yes. The Los Angeles Dodgers' star outfielder said he was happy to accept an invitation from National League captain Troy Tulowitzki.

"I'm very thankful," Puig said through an interpreter.

Although some players worry that participating in the derby can alter their swing and hurt their statistics in the second half, Puig said he is not concerned.

"Mine started to go down already," he said, laughing.

Indeed, Puig has one home run since May 28, a span of 140 at-bats. His 12 home runs tied him for 26th in the NL entering play Tuesday.

That, too, does not concern him.

"If I were hitting home runs every day, the pitchers weren't doing their job," Puig said.

Of the eight players announced as derby participants Tuesday -- the final two will be announced Thursday -- Puig has the fewest home runs.

The Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton, who leads the NL with 21 home runs, will join Puig, Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies and Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds on the NL squad. The American League team includes captain Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays, defending derby champion Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics, Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles and Brian Dozier of the Minnesota Twins, the host team for the All-Star game.

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said he does not believe participating in the derby puts a hitter at risk for subpar performance in the second half.

"I don't think it's that big of a thing, really," Mattingly said. "Watch batting practice every day. The guys are launching balls all the time. I don't think it's that big of a difference."

No Dodgers player has won the derby. The last one to participate -- Matt Kemp in 2012 -- hit one home run.

(c)2014 Los Angeles Times

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