The Home Run derby is neat and all, and often more entertaining than the All-Star Game itself. That being said, I kind of dread seeing Red Sox players in it, in even the off chance that participating can screw up their swing, or that the day would have been better for them in the long run if they had just relaxed rather than gone all out for exhibition purposes. With that in mind, it's somewhat relieving to hear that David Ortiz is all done with the Derby, according to Rob Bradford at WEEI, as well as Peter Abraham at the Boston Globe:
"If he [Robinson Cano] asks me to do it? I wouldn't do it. I'm done with that," Ortiz told WEEI.com prior to the Red Sox' Wednesday night win over the Rays. "I can't do it no more. I can't even do it in batting practice. Watch me in batting practice, I might lose a couple of balls but that's it. I can't do it. It wears me out. Wears me out. And you know the Home Run Derby can be taken lightly. You have to be young with a lot of energy."
Ortiz selected Cano for the Home Run Derby back when he was captain of the AL squad in 2011, but that was also the last time Boston's designated hitter participated. He's a couple of years older now, missed nearly half of last season with an Achilles injury, missed all of spring training and the first few weeks of the season due to fallout from that injury, and receives the occasional day off to keep him as rested as possible since. The fact he knows it wears him out, and is choosing rest over entertainment, is totally fine by me.
Boston fell apart in the second half of 2012, in large part due to Ortiz's absence. In 2011, they were lessened offensively after Adrian Gonzalez participated in the Home Run Derby, and then batting coach Dave Magadan stressed that it had indeed messed with Gonzalez's swing. Avoiding all of that in a season in which the Red Sox currently lead the AL in wins and look primed to succeed going forward should be good by Red Sox fans everywhere, Derby be damned.
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