White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu entered play Tuesday with 22 home runs — third in MLB behind only Edwin Encarnacion (24) of the Blue Jays and Nelson Cruz (23) of the Orioles. But the sensational rookie slugger doesn’t have any desire to strut his stuff in the 2014 Home Run Derby at Target Field.
“Home Run Derby is not something I’m too crazy about,” Abreu told Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times Tuesday through a translator. “It’s a good thing but I am not really interested or looking forward to. I really wouldn’t want to do it. I did it in Cuba several times and I wasn’t much into it.”
“The first thing it does is affect you mentally,” he continued. “You go out and try to hit home runs. I’m not a guy who tries to hit homers. I let them come when they come .. sometimes it messes with your mechanics.”
Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista was named the American League captain for the Home Run Derby and is in charge of finding four players to join him. Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is the NL captain.
Abreu signed a six-year, $68 million contract with Chicago last October after defecting from Cuba.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.