Prince Fielder

Nelson Cruz declined an invite to the Home Run Derby

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Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz led the AL with 40 homers last season and ranks fourth in the AL with 19 homers this season, but he was asked to participate in the Home Run Derby and declined.

Cruz told Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times that he’d “love to do it” but “I have to think about my teammates and my team … if I go there it can wear me out for two or three days after.”

Cruz was the Home Run Derby runner-up in 2009, losing to Prince Fielder, and went on to have a strong second half with an .839 OPS, but rightly or wrongly many players perceive the event as having a negative impact on second-half performance.

He’ll likely start the All-Star game at designated hitter after recently overtaking Kendrys Morales of the Royals in the American League voting.