Dodgers' Kemp adds Derby to All-Star itinerary

Dodgers' Kemp adds Derby to All-Star itinerary

Dodgers' Kemp adds Derby to All-Star itinerary
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, already named to the starting lineup for the 2011 All-Star Game, was selected Tuesday by National League captain Prince Fielder to participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby.

"I've been watching it since I was a kid and I've always dreamed of being in one," said Kemp, who entered Tuesday tied with Lance Berkman for the NL home run lead with 22.

"I remember watching Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr., all the big hitters on TV. Every kid that likes baseball likes the Home Run Derby."

Fielder, a past winner of the Home Run Derby, also selected Rickie Weeks and Matt Holliday to join him on Monday at Chase Field in Phoenix in the debut of a new format, in which four players from each league compete individually and by league for charity.


Boston's David Ortiz, captain of the AL team, chose Adrian Gonzalez, Jose Bautista and Robinson Cano.

Kemp said one of the benefits of being named to participate is the chance to bring a personal batting-practice pitcher. He's chosen Rob Flippo, now in his 10th season as the club's bullpen catcher and batting-practice thrower.

"It's funny, for the past three years I've been telling Flip that if I ever go, I'm taking him with me, and it's finally happening," Kemp said. "He's excited, too. He's always the one throwing to me, getting me ready every game."

Kemp said he's looking forward to the competition, as well as the fact that an untold number of family members plan to show up and cheer him on.

"All I know is that Torii [Hunter] told me, be ready to spend a lot of money," Kemp said. "It's a great experience and an honor, but it costs a lot of coin."

ESPN will televise the Home Run Derby on Monday at 5 p.m. PT with coverage also available via ESPN Radio, ESPN 3D, ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV.

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