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Papi would participate in Derby if asked

Papi would participate in Derby if asked

ST. PETERSBURG -- Red Sox slugger David Ortiz said before Monday night's game against the Rays that he will participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby on July 12 at Angel Stadium if he's asked.

"Nobody has talked to me about it yet, but I'll do it," said Ortiz.

The left-handed slugger was named to the All-Star team for the sixth time in his career on Sunday. Big Papi has participated in the Derby three times, but he hasn't been in one since 2006.

Some hitters complain that the Derby impacts their swing in the ensuing weeks. Does Ortiz think so?

"Not me," Ortiz said. "That's what I do for a living -- hit bombs."

Entering Monday's game, Ortiz had 17 homers, which is particularly impressive considering he hit just one in April.

Ortiz has typically been one of the more demonstrative players in the Derby. In the past, he has cooled sluggers like Miguel Tejada and Ryan Howard off with a towel between rounds.

"The worst thing about the Home Run Derby is just cooling off. That's the worst part about it," said Ortiz. "Other than that, it's fine. It's fun to watch, but it's fun to be in, too."

Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre, who has 12 homers, said he will decline the invitation to be in the Derby if asked.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona doesn't think it's his position to tell players whether they should participate or not.

"There's a couple things," Francona said. "One, it's really a big thing with the fans -- and the players. Some guys, they try to do some things in BP that you don't want guys to do. What people don't realize is how exhausting it is. It just takes so long, and it takes so much out of you.

"Saying that, if it's good for the game, and it obviously is, we'll let the players make up their mind. We wouldn't get in the way by saying something. I guess, from where I sit, I'd love our guys to watch. Get their video camera out and have a good time. But I also know that fans want to see the guys do it. I sat there in New York and watched Josh Hamilton [in 2008]. That was -- you'll never see something like that again, probably."

Ian Browne 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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