PHOENIX — Shortly after being named to the NL All-Star team over the weekend, Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said he’d consider participating in the Home Run Derby if asked by NL team captain David Wright.
Wright did not get far enough down his list of candidates to ask.
When Wright revealed his picks Monday afternoon, Goldschmidt was not among them despite his 21 home runs, which rank fourth in the NL, but it turns out he was on the short list.
Wright told reporters in San Francisco he had narrowed his list before deciding on Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer of the Rockies and Bryce Harper of the Nationals. Goldschmidt was among the group of five that didn’t make the cut.
“I really am sorry,” Wright said. “Carlos Beltran, Domonic Brown, Goldschmidt, (Joey) Votto, (Pedro) Alvarez — the original list that I had, I had all of those guys. The three guys that I asked to do it all said yes and jumped at it. Those are the three guys I originally asked, and those are the three guys that said yes last week.”
Wright explained that he selected Gonzalez because he leads the NL with 24 home runs, Harper because he won a fan vote for Derby participants and Cuddyer because of the two players’ friendship. Wright and Cuddyer, both Virginia natives, are longtime friends.
When all three players accepted the invitation, Wright had no need to go further down his list. That left Goldschmidt and the rest excluded despite greater home run totals. Harper has 13 home runs this season and Cuddyer has 15.
“It’s a lot tougher than you would think it is,” Wright said. “And you don’t want to leave anybody out. And there’s obviously guys that I left out. I apologize for that. Some people had to get left out.”
There’s still a sliver of hope for Goldschmidt and the others, however, as Gonzalez sprained his right middle finger against the D-backs on Sunday. He sat out Monday, and while he said he expects to be healed in time for All-Star week activities, it’s possible that he’ll have to bow out and a replacement will be needed. Who exactly is next on the list is not known.
Goldschmidt said he enjoyed participating in the 2011 Southern League Home Run Derby before being called up to the majors in August and would consider doing it this year, though he hadn’t put much thought into it when asked.
Gonzalez and Wright both have Home Run Derby experience, having participated in the 2012 and 2006 contests, respectively. The last D-backs participant was Chris Young in 2010. The only other in team history was Luis Gonzalez, who won the 2001 contest.
As for the American League team, captain Robinson Cano named two of his three teammates Monday: Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder and Orioles first baseman Chris Davis.