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07/08/08 10:48 PM ET

Braun joins Home Run Derby field

Vlad decides not to defend Derby crown

Milwaukee slugger Ryan Braun on Tuesday joined the list of players who will participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby, but the 2007 Derby champion, Vladimir Guerrero of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, will not be defending his crown on Monday night at Yankee Stadium.

Braun, the 2007 National League Rookie of the Year, has a team-high 22 home runs, including one Tuesday night in CC Sabathia's Milwaukee debut.

He joins Philadelphia's Chase Utley, Florida's Dan Uggla, Houston's Lance Berkman, Cleveland's Grady Sizemore and Josh Hamilton of Texas in the eight-player field. The final two slots are expected to be filled by the weekend.

Guerrero originally said he would defend his title, but having not been selected to play in the All-Star Game, Guerrero decided against missing out on the rare opportunity to rest and spend the All-Star break with his family.

" If I go, I've got to get there at 6 a.m. the same day I have to hit, and then I have to go right back," Guerrero said. "It's better that I take my three days off and get ready for the second half of the season."

St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols said he's open to the possibility of participating in the Derby, though he doesn't expect to be invited.

"I haven't gotten a call," he said. "Last year they [invited me] when I was on the plane flying with Tony [La Russa]. It was very much an emergency. I think they're waiting to see if David Wright [of the New York Mets] wins the [Final] Vote. If he does, I think they're going to ask him, being from New York and everything. [But] I wouldn't mind. It doesn't bother me."

The 79th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage that will also be available on XM Satellite Radio, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage.

Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.