Dozier to participate in Derby in front of home crowd
Second baseman leads Twins with 16 homers this year, to be pitched to by brother
SEATTLE -- Brian Dozier will take part in the All-Star week festivities at Target Field, after all.
Dozier, who was left off the American League squad for the All-Star Game, will instead represent the Twins and the AL in the Gillette Home Run Derby on Monday at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN. Dozier leads the Twins with 16 home runs this year, and has 27 homers over his last 162 games dating back to last July.
"It's pretty cool," Dozier said. "It's something you always watched growing up and now I have the chance to do it, especially at Target Field in front of the home fans, so it will be a lot of fun. I'm very happy Jose picked a hometown guy. That shows a lot of class. So it means a lot to me and also to the Twins and the fans."
Home Run Derby participants
|RF||Jose Bautista, TOR (Captain)|
|3B||Josh Donaldson, OAK|
|2B||Brian Dozier, MIN|
|CF||Adam Jones, BAL|
|LF||Yoenis Cespedes, OAK*||National League|
|SS||Troy Tulowitzki, COL (Captain)|
|3B||Todd Frazier, CIN|
|1B||Justin Morneau, COL|
|RF||Yasiel Puig, LAD|
|RF||Giancarlo Stanton, MIA|
Dozier said he found out he was a finalist for the Derby last week, and was officially informed by AL captain and Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista early Tuesday. He'll have his brother, Clay, a former left-handed pitcher and outfielder who played college ball at Delta State University in Mississippi, to throw to him.
"It's going to be funny," Dozier said. "I told him about a week ago I was one of the finalists so he's been throwing every day against the screen to loosen up his arm again. He played college ball so he knows how to throw and those things, but I'm just hoping he'll calm his nerves."
Dozier will be joined by Toronto's Bautista, Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes and Baltimore's Adam Jones in the AL. Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki, Miami's Giancarlo Stanton, Los Angeles' Yasiel Puig and Cincinnati's Todd Frazier will represent the National League. Another participant from each league will be announced Thursday, as former Twins first baseman Justin Morneau could be a late addition if he wins the National League Final Vote and is named an All-Star.
"It's going to be cool," Dozier said. "We were talking about it earlier and I don't think there's a reason why no one can hit it out of the stadium to be honest with you. In regular BP, you see balls up 10 rows up the third deck. And in the Home Run Derby, guys are really going to try to hit it. So it'll be fun to watch."
A new format has been installed for this year's Derby, as the five players from each league will receive seven outs instead of the usual 10 in each round. In the first round, the player who hits the most homers in each league will receive an automatic bye to the third round (semifinals). The next two players from each league with the most homers will square off against one another in a head-to-head matchup in the second round, with the two winners advancing to the semifinals against the league's top performer from the first round.
The final round will be a showdown between the AL and NL's best. If necessary, the first tiebreaker would allow the finalists three swings apiece.
If you can't wait for the actual Derby, the MLB.com Home Run Derby mobile game is a good way to immerse yourself in the action immediately, with Target Field serving as the setting. The game is available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play. New for 2014 is Multiplayer Derby Mode, Achievements and Objectives.