07/11/08 6:45 PM ET
Longoria added to Derby field
Rays rookie sensation won Final Vote on Thursday
By Bill Chastain / MLB.com
The Rays' rookie third baseman came into the dugout before batting practice at Progressive Field on Friday and said he had just gotten off the phone with representatives at Major League Baseball.
"Now, I'm in it," Longoria said.
"I've not been very good at these before, and now there's going to be 60,000 watching," he said, smiling. "... I'm just going to try and hit one out. I don't want to get [shut out]."
ESPN's All-Star Game programming will be highlighted by the State Farm Home Run Derby at 8 p.m. ET on Monday and followed by the Taco Bell Legends and Celebrity Softball Game.
ESPN will also carry the 2008 XM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday and the radio broadcast of the 79th All-Star Game on Tuesday from Yankee Stadium in the ballpark's final season.
FOX will have the national live television broadcast of the All-Star Game, with Rogers Sportsnet carrying the game in Canada and Sportsnet HD handling the worldwide broadcast by Major League Baseball International.
With Longoria's addition to the field, seven of the eight Derby participants have been confirmed. The right-handed-hitting Longoria joins the Rangers' Josh Hamilton and Indians' Grady Sizemore as AL representatives. The Astros' Lance Berkman, the Brewers' Ryan Braun, the Marlins' Dan Uggla and the Phillies' Chase Utley will compete for the National League.
"I guess they wanted me to do it because of the amount of fan votes I got," Longoria said. "I guess I'm pretty popular with the fans. So they wanted me to get in there and show what I can do."
Longoria drew a record 9 million votes in the All-Star Final Vote to join fellow Rays Scott Kazmir and Dioner Navarro at the Midsummer Classic.
Longoria, 22, entered Friday's action batting .281 with 16 homers and 53 RBIs since his April callup, and on Wednesday, he won the AL Rookie of the Month Award presented by Gillette for June.
Longoria doesn't plan on bringing his own pitcher for the Derby.
"I'm just going to pick somebody there," Longoria said. "I'm not a very good batting practice hitter as it is."
Longoria said he participated in a home run contest during his first instructional league.
"It wasn't anything like this and I still was terrible," Longoria said. "I'm just going to go out there and try to enjoy it as much as I can, not worry about the results."
Rays manager Joe Maddon had mixed feelings about Longoria participating in the contest.
"I'm sure he's going to have a good time with it," Maddon said. "My bigger concern is what happens [after the contest]. There's a lot of energy involved mentally and also physically. ... I don't think necessarily winning it is so important as much as being invited and going about it the right way.
"I think, if you watch him in BP, he doesn't spin on eveyrthing. So I'd like to think he's going to just try and drive the ball to the middle of the field. I mean, it's not easy in Yankee Stadium. ... I'd like to see him do it and do it with some intelligence, too."
Longoria smiled when told of his manager's concerns.
"Well, little does he know that we play home run derby [in batting practice] at 5 o'clock," Longoria said.
Chris Berman will host the Derby -- which will also be available in high definition -- and will be joined on the field by analysts Steve Phillips and Joe Morgan. "Baseball Tonight" host Karl Ravech will be joined by analysts Peter Gammons, John Kruk and Rick Reilly in the studio for further commentary. Erin Andrews will report and provide interviews on the field.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.