07/12/2003 5:31 PM ET
Anderson gears up for HR Derby
Angel surprised to hear he was invited
Complete coverage of the Home Run Derby >
ANAHEIM -- Garret Anderson has always been a gap-to-gap type of hitter, not your run-of-the-mill bomber who sits back on his heels and swings for the fences.
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
Anderson has a great swing, however, and he has grown into a powerful hitter who has 21 long balls this season, tied for fourth in the American League.
As a result, Anderson will represent the AL along with Carlos Delgado of the Toronto Blue Jays, Bret Boone of the Seattle Mariners and Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees in the Century 21 Home Run Derby, part of the All-Star Game festivities Monday at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.
Anderson's headline year in the homer department was 2000, when he hit 35. That would seemingly make him a longshot in this competition, a tag he doesn't seem to mind.
In fact, when told that he was a competitor this year, he laughed, convinced that he wasn't one of the original choices to participate.
"I'm sure some guys said no and I got filtered down through the cracks," Anderson said.
But some highly qualified members of the Angels say he has a good shot.
"Absolutely," said Troy Glaus, who knows a thing or two about home-run hitting contests himself.
Glaus, last year's World Series MVP, won one near Las Vegas during the offseason in 2002 and participated in the All-Star derby in 2001 in Seattle.
"Anybody who makes as solid contact as Garret does as often as he does has a chance," Glaus said.
Glaus failed to hit one out and was eliminated in the first round in 2001, so he had a few words of advice for his teammate.
"Just don't try too hard," Glaus said. "Don't swing too hard."
Anderson rarely hits batting practice home runs, but it's because he doesn't try to, he said.
"I can if I want to," Anderson said. "But I'm usually working on things. My swing doesn't work that way."
Anderson, 31, is more of a doubles hitter -- he led the AL with 56 two-base hits last year and has 30 this season -- who has gained the ability to drive the ball out of the yard as he has matured.
Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher predicts a good showing from Anderson.
"My money's on him," Hatcher said. "His swing is so pure and he's able to get into that launch mode."
That was a sentiment Glaus could agree with.
"His swing looks easy, but he's got a hard swing in his bag," Glaus said. "You don't get extra points for hitting it 500 feet or 550 feet. All it has to do is go over the wall."
Anderson said it'll be fun and a good experience but that he's not expecting anything as far as performance goes.
"I just never tried to hit homers over and over and over," Anderson said.
"It'll be a new environment for me."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.