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Hanley may throw hat into Derby ring

Hanley may throw hat into Derby ring

PHOENIX -- Hanley Ramirez, who has hit more home runs than any shortstop since 2006 is weighing whether to take part in the State Farm Home Run Derby.

Major League Baseball invited Ramirez to take part, and the 26-year-old slugger says he is on the fence. It's basically 50/50 if he will take part.

If Ramirez accepts the invitation, more attention awaits him in Anaheim.

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A fan favorite to participate in the All-Star Game, Ramirez would be making his first appearance in the Home Run Derby on Monday at Angel Stadium.

The Marlins shortstop is hitting .296 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs.

Since 2006, his rookie season, Ramirez leads all Major League shortstops in home runs with 115. He has 116 career homers, with one as a pinch-hitter. Over that span, he also leads all National League shortstops in batting average at .314.

"He's going to be there, and everybody is going to be watching," Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said before the game. "It's going to be good for him, for the organization, for the fans, and for the team."

Already committed are Corey Hart of the Brewers and Matt Holliday of the Cardinals. Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, Boston's David Ortiz and Toronto's Vernon Wells are representing the American League.

In 2006-07, Ramirez was teammate of Cabrera, who paces the league in homers.

Power is a big part of Ramirez's game. But he remains a gap to gap hitter, who concentrates on being a complete hitter.

A year ago, Ramirez batted .342 and hit 24 homers. In 2008, he had a career high 33 homers and hit .301.

A concern Ramirez has about the Derby is it hurting swing.

His manager says he is disciplined enough not to let that happen.

"He's a guy who makes the adjustment pretty quickly," Rodriguez said. "He can go from trying to hit the ball out to two days later, staying back-to-back. I don't think it's going to mess up his swing. I think he's going to be fine. It's going to be good for him."

If Ramirez competes in the Derby, two remaining competitors will eventually be announced when they have been confirmed.

Ortiz has participated in the Derby three times, Cabrera took part in the 2006 event at PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Holliday competed in 2007 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Like Ramirez, Hart and Wells will be making their Derby debuts.

Ramirez is the third Marlin in recent years to compete in the Home Run Derby. In 2006 Cabrera took part and Dan Uggla participated in 2008.

Last Sunday in Atlanta, after Ramirez was named to the All-Star Game NL starting lineup, he didn't think he would take part in the Home Run Derby. He said that the past two years that he enjoyed bringing his children to the Derby.

"It was fun when I am with my kids on the field watching the Home Run Derby," he said on Sunday. "That's something I couldn't do as a kid."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["all-star_game" ] }
{"content":["all-star_game" ] }