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.

Todd Helton cited for DUI following a crash

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Former All-Star first baseman Todd Helton has been charged with driving under the influence after a single-car accident in Knoxville, Tennessee.

According to the sheriff’s report, Helton’s car struck a telephone pole just before 6PM on March 18. He was not seriously injured, but was taken to the hospital for observation. Helton told deputies that he had taken an Ambien a few hours earlier. There was a cup in Helton’s car that “had the odor of an alcoholic beverage.”

Helton’s lawyer says that Helton has entered a treatment program. This was his second DUI arrest in the past six years. He was arrested in Colorado in 2013 while on the disabled list during his final season playing for the Colorado Rockies. He retired that year.

Helton, a five-time All-Star, played for the Rockies from 1997 through 2013, winning three Gold Gloves and collecting 2,519 hits and 369 homers. In 2000 he led the league in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, RBI, doubles, total bases and hits.