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07/09/08 12:59 AM ET
Braun joins Home Run Derby pool
Slugger's opponents will include Utley and Hamilton
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Add Brewers slugger Ryan Braun to the list of players who will swing for the fences at Yankee Stadium next week. Braun agreed to a Major League Baseball request to participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby on Monday night. Braun leads the Brewers with 22 home runs. "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, something you dream about," Braun said. "It's too good an opportunity to pass up." He went 15 games without a homer from June 18-July 5, a power outage probably related to a sore right hand that sidelined Braun for two games in Arizona last week. He returned to the lineup on July 4 and has made every start since. Braun consulted with Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, assistant GM Gord Ash and head athletic trainer Roger Caplinger before agreeing to participate. "I feel like I'm healthy enough to do it," Braun said. "[League officials] asked me a couple of days ago and I was kind of debating, seeing how my hand felt. ... It's gotten better over the last couple of days, so I'm definitely in. If we were to have a setback or something, we'll pull out." Braun ended his home run drought on Sunday against the Pirates and hit another to highlight CC Sabathia's winning Brewers debut on Tuesday night against the Rockies. Braun's first-inning, three-run shot gave the Brewers a 3-0 lead. Others confirmed for the Derby include the Phillies' Chase Utley, the Marlins' Dan Uggla, the Astros' Lance Berkman, the Indians' Grady Sizemore and the Rangers' Josh Hamilton. Vladimir Guerrero of the Angels, the 2007 Home Run Derby winner, said on Sunday that he would defend his crown, but pulled out of contention on Tuesday. That leaves two open slots remaining in the field of eight.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.