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Ichiro unsure about Home Run Derby

Ichiro unsure about Home Run Derby

KANSAS CITY -- Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki said Wednesday night that he hasn't decided whether to compete in Monday's CENTURY 21 Home Run Derby.

He apparently hasn't received a formal offer from Major League Baseball, and he told members of the Japanese press that he wanted to get the particulars of the Derby before committing to it.

Though he has six home runs this season and isn't considered a home run hitter, he has been known to put on a show during batting practices around the American League. Rangers manager Buck Showalter said last weekend in Seattle that if Ichiro entered the Home Run Derby, he would win it.

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One Japanese reporter said that Ichiro had talked about being in the competition and representing Japan if Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui was not available to compete. Matsui was on the ballot for the Ameriquest All-Star Final Vote, which selects the 32nd member of each All-Star squad, but he did not win. Chicago's Scott Podsednik won the American League Final Vote balloting.

The Home Run Derby is scheduled for Monday at Comerica Park, and seven of the eight participants have been determined. Each participant will represent his home country, a nod to the 2006 World Baseball Classic. Rangers first baseman Mark Teixeira, the seventh slugger confirmed for the Derby, accepted his invitation on Wednesday.

All-Star Game 2005

Teixeira will represent the United States, joining a field that includes Major League home run leader Andruw Jones (representing the Netherlands), Boston DH David Ortiz (Dominican Republic), Philadelphia's Bobby Abreu (Venezuela), Pittsburgh's Jason Bay (Canada), Detroit's Ivan Rodriguez (Puerto Rico) and Milwaukee's Carlos Lee (Panama).

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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