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Mark Trumbo goes long; Matt Kemp cuts it short

Detroit's Prince Fielder wins Home Run Derby, but Angels' Mark Trumbo makes a splash by averaging 434 feet on his 14 homers. Dodgers' Matt Kemp makes another quick first-round exit, hitting only one.

July 09, 2012|By Bill Shaikin

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Angels' Mark Trumbo put on an outstanding show and the Dodgers' Matt Kemp did not, but the star of the Home Run Derby was Billy Butler.

Prince Fielder won the derby, for the second time in four years. Butler did not compete.

But the Kansas City fans wanted their hometown All-Star on the team. American League captain Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees did not select Butler, prompting the crowd to unleash vicious and repeated boos every time Cano set foot on the field.

Cano, the defending champion, failed to hit a home run, and the crowd responded with a standing ovation. Butler said he got louder cheers Monday — for not participating — than he ever had in a game in which he had played.

"This is for the fans, and that's what they wanted," Cano said. "Sometimes you make a decision and it's not the right one."

Not that Cano was conceding he should have picked Butler.

"I picked the right team," Cano said. "We won."

Trumbo did not win, but he wowed the crowd. He has the longest average home-run distance in the major leagues this season, at 420 feet. The 14 home runs he hit in the derby averaged 434 feet, including one estimated at 465 feet.

Kemp was eliminated in the first round for the second consecutive year, and this time he nearly was shut out. He made six outs, tossed aside his cap and made three more outs before hitting his lone home run.

His total of three home runs in consecutive years is not the worst in Dodgers history. Mike Piazza hit a total of zero home runs in the 1993-94 derbies.

Neither Kemp nor Trumbo was available for comment after the derby. The Dodgers flew in athletic trainer Sue Falsone to check Kemp's hamstring before the event, and she cleared him to participate, team spokesman Joe Jareck said. The Dodgers are expected to activate Kemp on Friday; he has not played since May 30 because of a strained left hamstring.

Phenom watch

Even with All-Star mainstays such as Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones on hand, the cameras and microphones nearly swallowed the designated phenoms — Mike Trout of the Angels and Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals. The two were teammates in the Arizona Fall League last year, and Trout told of how Harper called a walk-off home run.

Trout and Harper often trade text messages. Trout, a relative unknown as a high school player in New Jersey, said he sympathizes with the publicity surrounding Harper.

"He's been ranked the No. 1 prospect since he was 6 years old," Trout said.

Trout, 20, said he could not wait to talk with Jeter, the player he most admired growing up.

"I tried to imitate him in every way I could," Trout said.

Jeter, 38, said he appreciated the sentiment but had a laugh with it too.

"We pretty much do everything the same," he joked. "I probably run a little faster."

Fish heads

Trout said he had no advance notice that the Angels would salute him by selling red foam fish designed for fans to wear on their head. He walked in the clubhouse one day and saw Howie Kendrick wearing one.

"I had to look at it twice," Trout said. "It's pretty fun.

"They're selling for $15. I thought that was a little overpriced."

Gold standard

Kemp arrived for a news conference wearing a blindingly bright pair of gold high-top sneakers. He happily identified the designer of the shoes (Christian Louboutin) and the store at which he bought them (Barney's).

Said Kemp: "This is an L.A. thing."

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