Home Run Derby participants announced; Fielder calls on Weeks

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Both David Ortiz and Prince Fielder called on teammates to help them out in next Monday’s Home Run Derby.  In Fielder’s case, though, it’ll be Rickie Weeks, not Ryan Braun, trying to aid the cause.

With Braun saying he wasn’t interested, it will be Fiedler, Weeks, Matt Kemp and Matt Holliday for the NL squad.  The AL will be represented by Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista and Robinson Cano.

Mark Teixeira turned down the spot that went to Cano.

Holliday got the nod over Lance Berkman, a three-time participant who is currently tied for the NL lead in homers with Kemp.  They have 22 apiece, one more than Fielder.  Weeks has 15, while Holliday has a modest 10 in 61 games.

Besides Berkman, overlooked for the team was Jay Bruce, who ranks fourth in the league with 18 homers, and young slugger Mike Stanton.  Stanton wasn’t scheduled to go to Phoenix, but Marlins teammate and All-Star Gaby Sanchez lobbied for him anyway.

The AL foursome has 74 homers to the NL’s 68 this season.  Bautista leads the majors with 27 homers.  However, none of the other five American Leaguers with at least 20 homers (Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Paul Konerko, Mark Reynolds and Nelson Cruz) made the cut.  Ortiz has 17 homers, Gonzalez 16 and Cano 14.

Dave Dombrowski gives John Farrell a vote of confidence

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Earlier, we learned via Tuesday’s report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that Red Sox manager John Farrell could find himself on the hot seat given the team’s slow start and a couple of incidents with Dustin Pedroia and Drew Pomeranz.

Tim Britton of the Providence Journal spoke to Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who gave Farrell a vote of confidence. Dombrowski said, “We all have our pluses and minuses. But when I see some of the things we’ve talked about, I don’t know how you say that’s John Farrell’s fault. It’s not his fault that we’ve scuffled to pitch in the fifth spot with [Kyle] Kendrick and [Hector] Velazquez. The injury factors. Really in many ways, I tip my hat to our guys, led by John, that we’re in the position that we’re in right now. We’re three and a half out on May 24. There’s a long time to go. We haven’t gotten buried.”

Dombrowski added, “He’s our manager. He’s done fine. If I didn’t think that, then he wouldn’t be in his role.”

Farrell is signed through 2018 as the Red Sox exercised his ’18 option in December. That doesn’t mean the Red Sox can’t let him go, but given the lack of realistic options to step in and fill Farrell’s shoes and Dombrowski’s vote of confidence, it looks like the skipper has job security for now.

Jacoby Ellsbury diagnosed with concussion, neck sprain after leaving game

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The Yankees announced that Jacoby Ellsbury left the game with a concussion and a neck sprain after making a great catch, crashing into the center field wall at Yankee Stadium to snag an Alcides Escobar fly ball for the first out of the first inning Wednesday night against the Royals.

Ellsbury was shaken up after the play, requiring the attention of manager Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue.

Ellsbury initially stayed in the game and finished the top of the first inning. However, Aaron Hicks replaced Ellsbury in center field to start the top of the second inning. Ellsbury was batting sixth and did not have an at-bat prior to exiting.