OAKLAND, Calif. — Texas slugger Josh Hamilton may be the people’s choice as far as All-Star voting, but he’s not going to be competing in the home run derby.
Hamilton, who leads the major leagues in homers with 21, was asked to be the American League captain for the July 9 derby in Kansas City but declined.
“I’ve already talked to them,” Hamilton said. “They called me maybe a week-and-a-half ago and asked me, and I declined respectfully. It’s just not the right time. I haven’t done it the last couple of years because of wanting to be healthy and the best I can be for the team. I don’t want to take a chance of going out and hurting anything trying to entertain folks at the All-Star Game.”
Hamilton, who has received more than 2.5 million All-Star votes, said he won’t change his mind even if AL home run captain Robinson Cano called him. Hamilton dominated the 2008 home run derby in New York, hitting a record 28 homers in the first round. He lost in the finals to Justin Morneau.
He hasn’t competed in a derby since then but doesn’t think that derby affected his game. He thinks playing his first full season had a bigger impact on his second-half power decline in 2008 than his derby exploits. He hit 32 home runs that year, but only 11 after the All-Star break.
Now he’s thinking big picture.
“You’ve got to be smart about it and understand I play major league baseball, but I work for the Texas Rangers,” he said. “I understand they need me healthy, and I want to be healthy for them. I would love to go out there and hit as many home runs as I can. I enjoyed doing it. I had fun doing it. It’s not fair to go out there and do something for myself and possibly get injured.”