07/06/08 4:36 PM ET
Cubs not interested in Home Run Derby
Despite seven selections, more players worthy of NL squad
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Not Aramis Ramirez, who has 15 homers as of Sunday.
"I'm not that good in [batting practice]," Ramirez said. "Maybe [Alfonso Soriano] can do it -- oh, he's hurt. Zambrano can do it."
Soriano, who has 15 home runs, was named a starter in his seventh All-Star Game, but is not expected to participate because he's rehabbing from a broken bone in his left hand.
What about Geovany Soto? Named as a starter to the NL team, the rookie catcher has 14 homers.
"No chance," Soto said. "[Zambrano] has power. I'll throw him out there against anybody, any place, any time. Have you seen his BP? He's got the most pop on the whole team."
Zambrano, a switch-hitter, is batting .360 with one homer and six RBIs, so if NL manager Clint Hurdle needs a pinch-hitter, he could always count on Big Z.
"No, I don't think so," Zambrano said when asked if he'd take part in the Derby. "I'm available."
Will he bring his bats?
"I don't think so," Zambrano said, chuckling.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who will be a coach on the NL staff and probably hide Zambrano's bats from him, also laughed at the suggestion that his ace take part in the hitters' slugfest.
"He might [win]," Piniella said. "That short porch in Yankee Stadium in right field will certainly favor a left-hand hitter, without a doubt."
The Cubs may have seven players on the NL team, but they lobbied for more. Versatile Mark DeRosa, who finished second in the fan balloting to Philadelphia's Chase Utley at second base, got the most votes.
"I think 'DeRo' has numbers to go as a second baseman, but [Dan] Uggla and Utley are unbelievable this year," Ramirez said. "DeRo and [Derrek Lee]. [Carlos] Marmol has the numbers to go, too."
DeRosa, who started in right field Sunday, and was batting .289 with 11 homers and 48 RBIs, was flattered.
"Chase Utley is one of the top five players in the game, Dan Uggla is having a monster season, Brandon Phillips is having a great year," DeRosa said of his competition at second base. "I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to go -- I want to go, especially New York where I grew up. To be able to close down Yankee Stadium, that would be unbelievable.
"I'm not disappointed in any way. We deserve to have seven guys go, it's just a shame more can't go. The guys who are going are deserving.""
Ryan Dempster, one of three Cubs pitchers chosen, would like to have more teammates if he could.
"As a teammate, you want to bring the whole lineup," Dempster said. "I think DeRo should be there, but there are two guys who have really impressive numbers ahead of him in Utley and Uggla. Baseball is like that, and you select people you think deserve it and have better numbers. It's the manager's choice."
To get seven players out of 31 is a testament to the Cubs' talent. They do have the best record in the National League.
"The players who were chosen, they're worthy," Piniella said. "You can look at players on other teams and say they deserve to be on also. Our team has gotten a lot of attention, and it's played well all year, and it's because these guys have contributed."
There is one thing yet to be determined. What will Piniella do as one of the NL team's coaches?
"I think they'll have their own coaches," Piniella said of Colorado manager Clint Hurdle's All-Star staff. "I'll probably be sitting over there by the water bucket, and enjoying the game like everybody else."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.