Captain Prince Fielder picks NL team
MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Brewers slugger Prince Fielder selected teammate Rickie Weeks, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Matt Kemp and St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Holliday to represent the National League in Monday night's Home Run Derby.
"It was very tough, I wanted everybody to be in it. I definitely wanted someone from the Diamondbacks to be in it, but these guys, I know these guys really well, and these are my picks, no hard feelings," Fielder said Tuesday.
Arizona hosts the All-Star Game on Tuesday and Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton had said he was interested in representing the NL.
"I wish I could invite everyone I knew. That was the only part that was a little tough, trying to narrow it down," Fielder said.
Kemp came into play on Tuesday with an NL-best 22 home runs. Fielder has 21, Weeks has 15 and Holliday has the fewest with 10 but has hit in the contest two previous times. Weeks said he's not concerned about messing up his swing by trying to hit home runs because they try to outhit each other in batting practice.
"We mess around with it all the time in BP," Weeks said. "It's one of those things where if you're confident in yourself and your swing; some people have different swings, of course, and they might have to create more lift or something like that. Maybe that might mess them up, possibly. Some people have long homers and some people have hard homers -- you just want to stay with what got you here and go hard and have fun, really."
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he's already talked to Weeks about not altering his swing and said he's comfortable with two of his best hitters being part of the festivities.
"Rickie said he's going to be fine," Roenicke said. "I think he can turn it on and off when he wants to."
Fielder says he'll use Triple-A hitting coach Sandy Guerrero as his pitcher in the derby, the same person who threw to him when he won the contest in 2009. Weeks said he wasn't sure who he'd pick, either Guerrero or Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum. Fielder did have a little advice for his teammate on preparing for the contest.
"It's kind of intense, it's not as easygoing as you might think it is," Fielder said. "You get serious because of course you want to win."
The new format this year pits the NL against the AL for charity, and the American League hitters include 2010 derby champ David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox along with his teammate Adrian Gonzalez, Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees and Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays. Bautista leads the majors with 27 homers.
With that potent lineup, Fielder decided not to make any guarantees on who would win the competition.
"I'm not going to do that," Fielder said. "I guarantee I'll swing hard, though."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press