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Choi takes his cuts in Home Run Derby

Choi takes his cuts in Home Run Derby

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DETROIT -- Hee-Seop Choi's first All-Star experience as a Major Leaguer was relatively short, but it was still powerful and plenty busy.

The Dodgers first baseman was a big part of Monday's activities, taking his hacks in the CENTURY 21 Home Run Derby in the evening after representing Korea at the World Baseball Classic announcement in the morning.

Choi won't be playing in Tuesday's All-Star Game, leaving that honor to Dodgers teammates Jeff Kent and Cesar Izturis. But the 26-year-old represented his team and his country well on Monday.

Choi's performance in the Home Run Derby lasted only one round, but it wound up being a pretty good one. He matched Atlanta's Andruw Jones for the fifth-best total with five long balls.

After Bobby Abreu stole the show as the leadoff man with his record 24 homers in the first round en route to the title, Choi put up his five as the fourth hitter in the contest. That was good enough to keep him on the bubble to make it to the semifinals before David Ortiz of the Red Sox, the seventh of the eight competitors, knocked him out of the competition with 17, the second-best performance ever in a single round.

Choi, who has 13 homers thus far in the regular season, recorded six outs before his first homer, including one ball that had the distance but was on the wrong side of the right-field foul pole. His first homer just cleared the fence in right, the first of four homers to right.

His fifth and final homer was his longest. He sent a 474-foot shot to center with eight outs against him.

Choi also represented Korea for the announcement of the World Baseball Classic earlier in the day. Korea is one of 16 nations that will participate in the tournament, beginning with the Asian pool along with China, Chinese Taipei and Japan.

Player & Total
Highlights
 
Bobby Abreu 41 56K | 350K Home Run Derby
Complete Coverage >
Ivan Rodriguez 20 56K | 350K
David Ortiz 20 56K | 350K
Carlos Lee 15 56K | 350K
Hee-Seop Choi 5 56K | 350K
Andruw Jones 5 56K | 350K
Mark Teixeira 2 56K | 350K
Jason Bay 0 56K | 350K

This was actually Choi's second trip to an All-Star Game, having played in the All-Star Futures Game in 2002.

Choi is the first position player from Korea to make it to the Major Leagues, so it was fitting that he was there for the announcement of the WBC.

"I feel very honored to be playing among the best players in the world, and it's good for my country and that's it," Choi said when it came his turn to speak at the press conference, drawing laughter for his abrupt finish.

Choi's appearance in the Home Run Derby went longer than his speech at the press conference, that's for sure.

John Schlegel 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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