07/07/05 12:49 AM ET
Teixeira accepts Derby bid
Slugger will represent US in long-ball contest
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
Teixeira was chosen out of a deep field of All-Star sluggers to represent the United States. He'll join a field for Monday's event that includes Major League home run leader Andruw Jones (representing the Netherlands), Boston DH David Ortiz (Dominican Republic), Philadelphia's Bobby Abreu (Venezuela), Pittsburgh's Jason Bay (Canada), Detroit's Ivan Rodriguez (Puerto Rico) and Milwaukee's Carlos Lee (Panama).
"I'm very excited about it," Teixeira said Wednesday. "Hopefully it will be a great time. I'm sure it will be."
Teixeira entered Wednesday tied for the American League lead with 22 home runs, putting him on pace to join the 40-homer club for the first time in his career. He earned his first All-Star Game selection by fan balloting, and he will be the AL's starting first baseman.
His path to the Home Run Derby was much less clear. Fellow American Derrek Lee ranks second in the Majors with 25 home runs, while Boston's Manny Ramirez -- a naturalized American citizen who was born in the Dominican Republic -- also had 22 home runs through Tuesday.
Lee declined an invitation to the Home Run Derby because of lingering inflammation in his left shoulder, which he re-aggravated Tuesday night.
"It's quite an honor to represent the country," Teixeira said. "I think it should be a good time."
The way he hits, it should be. So far, he's the only switch-hitter slated to participate in the contest at Comerica Park, a place that still favors lefty pull hitters for power despite the recently shortened dimensions in left field. A drive down the right-field line must travel just 330 feet to clear the fence in the corner, compared with 345 feet down the opposite line. Any ball hit between the power alleys and center field requires some pop to leave the yard.
Abreu and Ortiz are left-handed hitters. Teixeira bats from both sides, but all of his home runs this year have come while hitting left-handed.
The field lost one potential slugger when Yankees slugger and Japanese native Hideki Matsui did not the AL Final Vote. That leaves Ichiro Suzuki as the only Japanese player left on either All-Star roster. Ichiro told members of the Japanese media that he wanted to learn more about the event before deciding whether to take part. He apparently has not received a formal invitation.
Major League Baseball did not announce an official Derby list, leaving the final player in question.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Jim Street, a reporter for MLB.com, and Jake Veyhl, a contributor to MLB.com, contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.