Albert Pujols’ sons were pressing their father to take part in the All-Star Home Run Derby.
Alberto Jr. and Ezra got their wish.
Pujols, the Los Angeles Angels’ first baseman, says he talked with Major League Baseball and confirmed he will be one of the hitters for the event Monday in Cincinnati. The All-Star Game is the next night.
“I’m going to give it one last chance,” Pujols said Tuesday. “The good thing with Major League Baseball is they allow us to bring our kids onto the field on practice day so they’ll be able to enjoy that. They’ll have a great time and meet the players they get to watch every day.”
Pujols said he wanted to be a part of the competition after being picked for the AL All-Star team this week. He will start in place of Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, who went on the disabled list with a strained calf.
Pujols declined to be in the Home Run Derby last year because he was not playing in the All-Star Game.
“You want to be in the game,” he said. “That’s the most important thing because you want to be able to have a chance to help the American League have home-field advantage.”
Pujols said he received a call Monday that he was named to the reserves and relayed the message to Alberto Jr., who had been texting him all morning. “He was pretty pumped up because he gets on the field,” Pujols said.
This will be Pujols’ fourth time competing in the Home Run Derby.
He reached the semifinals in 2003, 2007 and 2009 but has never won it.
Pujols entered Tuesday leading the American League with 25 home runs.
Alex Rodriguez says he is “obviously disappointed” to be left off the AL All-Star team but considered himself “a long shot” to get selected.
The New York Yankees’ designated hitter said he’s happy just to be in the conversation, and hopes the four days off over the All-Star break will benefit him.
Rodriguez, who turns 40 on July 27, entered Tuesday batting .284 with 16 homers and 47 RBI after sitting out last season while serving a drug suspension. Seattle slugger Nelson Cruz was elected by fans to start at DH for the AL, and players voted in Texas DH Prince Fielder as a reserve.
Rodriguez said he’s happy for Fielder because he’s also a big comeback story and is having a “phenomenal” year.
Asked if he thought the players’ vote might indicate all is not forgiven by his peers, A-Rod answered: “I wouldn’t say all that.”
Morneau out longer
The Colorado Rockies have transferred first baseman Justin Morneau, the former Twin, to the 60-day disabled list.
Morneau, 34, was placed on the seven-day concussion list on May 16 and transferred to the 15-day DL on May 29. Last season’s NL batting champion is hitting .290 in 27 games.
He has done a little rehabilitation work on occasion at Coors Field but he hasn’t been involved in any baseball activity since he suffered whiplash diving for a ball earlier this year.
With his spot open on the 40-man roster open, the Rockies claimed righthanded pitcher Gonzalez Germen off waivers from the Chicago Cubs and assigned him to Class AAA Albuquerque. Germen appeared in six games with the Cubs this season.