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Morneau, Mauer mulling Derby

Morneau, Mauer mulling Derby

MINNEAPOLIS -- Justin Morneau may be the reigning Home Run Derby champion, but it might be the other of the Twins' M&M boys who is more likely to take part in this year's event on July 13 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Both Morneau and Joe Mauer were named to their third All-Star Game on Sunday, and Morneau has taken part in the Home Run Derby in each of his first two trips to the Midsummer Classic.

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However, when asked about the Derby on Sunday, Morneau said that he's leaning toward skipping this year's event to give himself a little more rest.

"It's one of those things that maybe you could use the time off and just go there, play in the game and enjoy the time," Morneau said. "The last two [years], I've been in the Home Run Derby, and it's been kind of hectic. I haven't really gotten to enjoy it too much, so I'm leaning toward not doing it."

Mauer was asked if he might nudge his teammate into defending his title, but the catcher said that he wouldn't push him either way.

"It's his decision," Mauer said. "He's been in a couple of them, and he's won it, so I don't know. It's a great event. If I was asked, I know I would go in it, but we'll see what happens."

There has been a lot of talk about Mauer's power surge this season. He has already tallied a career-high 14 home runs in just 58 games this season. That included 11 by the catcher in the month of May -- his first month back after missing all of April while on the disabled list with lower back inflammation.

So the catcher was asked, is he seriously thinking about showing that power off in the Derby this year?

"If they ask me, I'd have a tough time saying, 'No,'" Mauer said. "Something might be hurting or something like that, but I don't know if they want to see me go the other way [to left field] or anything like that. So we'll see what happens."

Morneau said Sunday that he has not been asked about the Derby, which he won in 2008 by defeating Josh Hamilton in the final round at Yankee Stadium. The first baseman hasn't completely ruled out the possibility of participating in the contest, but there are a number of factors he pointed to for skipping it -- including the heat the Twins experienced in their recent trip to St. Louis.

"I've thought about it a lot," Morneau said. "Anytime I can get a day off, I might need to take advantage of it. We'll see once it gets closer to it. Right now, I'm leaning toward not doing it. I've done it a couple times. If there are guys that would rather do it, that's fine with me.

"I'll go out on top, I guess," Morneau quipped.

Kelly Thesier 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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