baseball

Davis In Home Run Derby

After slugging his way to a major league-high 33 home runs — five more than the next highest total and nine more than the third — Orioles first baseman  Chris Davis will have the opportunity to showcase his power in front of a  national audience before the All-Star Game.  Davis was selected to the American League’s Home Run Derby team Monday night, becoming the eighth Oriole  selected for the event, which is held July 15 the night before the All-Star Game  at Citi Field in New York.

“I think as a power hitter growing up, it’s  one of the things that you look at as kind of your own special thing about the  All-Star Game,” Davis said in a Monday afternoon news conference before the  derby lineups were announced and the Orioles played the Rangers.

Davis will join New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, the team’s  captain, Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder and a fourth member to be  announced Tuesday by Cano. New York Mets third baseman David Wright is the  National League’s team captain, and he tabbed left fielder Carlos Gonzalez and  right fielder Michael Cuddyer of the Colorado Rockies and left fielder Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals for his squad.

Davis was selected to his first All-Star Game on Saturday, along with center  fielder Adam Jones, shortstop J.J. Hardy and third baseman Manny Machado. In  addition to his home runs, Davis is second in the American League in RBIs with  85 and third in batting average with a .320 mark.

Davis is the first Oriole to participate in the Home Run Derby since Miguel Tejada didn’t advance out of the first round in 2006 in Pittsburgh. Before  Davis, seven Orioles have competed in the event 12 times, with Tejada capturing  the championship in Houston in 2004 and Cal Ripken Jr. winning in Toronto in  1991.

Brady Anderson, the Orioles vice president of baseball operations,  competed in the Home Run Derby twice, finishing third behind Barry Bonds and  Mark McGwire in Philadelphia 1996 and fifth in Cleveland the next  year.

“It’s not nerve-wracking in a bad way,” Anderson said. “It’s kind  of exhilarating to be in a Home Run Derby.”

Anderson said he was  initially nervous, and his back leg started shaking when he stepped into the box  in 1996, but he settled in to hit 11 home runs in two rounds. Bonds hit 17 to  win, while McGwire finished second with 15.

“I guess at one point, I just  decided I don’t care and I’m going to try to put on a show and relax,” Anderson  said. “I went out to win it. That’s the big difference. You don’t want to go  there with the attitude to not embarrass yourself. You want to go out there and  win it.”

Davis’ swing is “perfect” for the event, Anderson said, and he  is naturally suited for hitting home runs. Davis is also powerful enough that he  can still muscle a ball over the wall even if he doesn’t make completely solid  contact.

And Davis’ teammates know it. They’ve been there for each of his  home runs this season, and they want everyone else to be there, too.

“I  know that Major League Baseball has seen his power, but it’s going to be a  little bit bigger stage,” Jones said. “Show the world your power.”

–Excerpts From The Baltimore Sun