Frazier wants to defend Derby title

Frazier wants to defend Derby title

HOUSTON -- Todd Frazier probably had his sights set on participating in the 2016 Home Run Derby during upcoming All-Star Game festivities in San Diego shortly after winning the 2015 competition in Cincinnati.

Frazier said back in May that he thought about the Derby every day of the week, and his focus on defending the crown hasn't change two months later.

"I would love to do it," Frazier said before Friday's series opener with the Astros. "I would love to get an opportunity. I think that would be pretty cool to defend my title and see where we go from there."

Entering Friday's contest at Minute Maid Park, Frazier was tied with the Orioles' Mark Trumbo for the American League and Major League lead in home runs at 23. That total represents the most in franchise history for a third baseman during the first half of a season.

A .203 average seems very likely to keep Frazier out of the actual All-Star Game. But Frazier points to Yoenis Cespedes' Derby victory in 2013 as an example of a player not having to be an All-Star to take part in the Derby.

"You don't have to be in the All-Star Game," Frazier said. "I would be there for one day and that was it. Yeah, that would be cool.

"I'll have plenty of time to get ready and get my swing back. I had a lot to do in the Cincinnati one. I was the ambassador. I was roaming around everywhere. This would be fun to go there and not have to do much. Maybe sign a couple of autographs and get ready to go."

If Frazier defends his title, his brothers, Charlie and Jeff, will return with him. Charlie pitched to Todd last year, while Jeff served as his hype man.

The hope for Frazier is that he hears something about the competition by Sunday. Of course, Frazier has bigger targets to hit in the interim, with the White Sox trying to finish a crazy first half on a high note over these next nine games. Frazier, who is trying to become the first player in White Sox history to lead the Majors in homers, went yard in Thursday's victory to go deep in back-to-back games for the fifth time this season.

Frazier's June average checked in at .167, but the veteran feels as if he's closer to getting back into good form at the plate.

"Just trying to attack the pitches I can hit. A to B kind of swing and trying to square the ball up more," Frazier said. "I feel comfortable up there, I always have. I'm giving myself a better opportunity to put the ball in play and drive some runs in."

"Even his BPs look better, a little more direct to the ball with his barrel," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "That's a good sign. Coming up here, probably have a decision on home run hitting contest. I don't think that's going to hurt him at all."

Ventura added that he has no problem with Frazier taking part in the Derby competition.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.