07/13/2003 1:24 AM ET
Boone back in homer hunt
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Two of the 24 home runs Mariners second baseman Bret Boone hit during the 2002 season came in the same inning of a game at U.S. Cellular Field against the White Sox.
Boone slugged two home runs in the first inning on May 2, and so did Mike Cameron, making them the first teammates in MLB history to homer twice in the same inning of the same game.
That image might be replayed a few times in Boone's mind on Monday, before he participates in the popular All-Star Home Run Derby. Boone will be one of five of top AL sluggers matching swings with some of the National League's best boppers.
"It's cool," Boone said. "How often do you get to do this?"
Well, this is Boonie's second Derby in the past three seasons. He was a first-round victim in 2001, when the Midsummer Classic was played at Safeco Field in Seattle. Boone hit two home runs that day, but Sammy Sosa, who also hit two, advanced to the second round because he had more home runs at the break than did Boone.
Boone is looking forward to his second slugfest.
"When you have an opportunity like this, you have to take it," he said. "Maybe to some guys it's old hat, but it's something I wouldn't pass up. What I want is to not embarrass myself. That first one you hit, you think, 'What a relief.' At least I hit one.' They're easier after that."
Boone should be more relaxed this time. He remembers being extremely nervous in the Seattle Home Run Derby.
"I got goosebumps going to the plate," he said. "It was a different deal than I've ever been in. You're hitting without a cage, and you're depending on how the BP (batting practice) pitcher throws. I remember stepping up there and thinking, 'I hope I hit one.'
"My attitude this year is to try to hit a couple and not embarrass myself," he continued. "You never know. You get BP pitchers throwing it right in that zone ... it's all about getting on a roll. Sometimes you might hit 10 in one round, and then you might hit none."
So far this season, Boone has hit 22 home runs, tying him with Alfonso Soriano (Yankees), Vernon Wells (Blue Jays) and Alex Rodriguez (Rangers) for fourth place in the league, behind Carlos Delgado (28), Jason Giambi (23) and Juan Gonzalez (23).
By Jim Street / MLB.com
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League baseball or its clubs.