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Angels' Mark Trumbo would consider the home run derby, but conditionally

Slugger, who finished third in last year's event and then went into a slump afterward, says he won't participate this year unless he is on the American League All-Star team.

June 19, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times

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If Mark Trumbo turns down an invitation to the July 15 home run derby in New York's Citi Field, it won't be because of his lengthy slump after finishing third in the long-ball event during last summer's All-Star game festivities in Kansas City.

"I'm not leaning any way right now, but I won't be doing it if I'm not on the All-Star team," the Angels slugger said. "I think it's awkard to do it if you're not on the team."

New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, selected American League home run derby captain for the second straight year, will choose three other players for his derby team, but they do not have to be All-Stars to participate.

Trumbo, who made his first All-Star team in 2012, began Tuesday ranked seventh in the AL with 15 home runs, ninth with 46 runs batted in and seventh with 31 extra-base hits.

He is not among the top three vote-getters at his positions — first base, outfield, designated hitter — but with a good first-half finish, he should be a strong candidate to win a reserve spot.

If he makes the team and Cano extends another derby invitation, what would Trumbo's answer be?

"I don't know," he said. "I haven't given it any thought."

Some teams prefer their players not participate in the home run derby because it has been known to mess up swings and lead to summer slumps.

Trumbo hit .306 with a .358 on-base percentage, .608 slugging percentage, 22 home runs, 57 RBIs, 65 strikeouts and 22 walks in 77 first-half games last season.

After finishing third in the derby behind Prince Fielder and Jose Bautista, Trumbo had a .227/.271/.359 second-half slash line with 10 home runs, 38 RBIs, 88 strikeouts and 14 walks in 67 games.

Trumbo didn't blame the derby, though.

"That had nothing to do with any struggles," Trumbo said. "It was merely a lack of adjustments on my part. Some bad habits crept in, probably long before I was in the home run derby, and I got exposed."

Trumbo, in his third big league season, described the derby as "a draining experience," but the 27-year-old was glad he did it.

"Despite the fact there were some negative aspects, it was something I really couldn't pass up," Trumbo said. "It was kind of like a childhood dream. I was willing to accept some of the bad to have an experience like that to look back on."

Short hops

Reliever Michael Kohn began Tuesday having not given up a run in 18 of 19 appearances, a stretch in which the right-hander, who sat out 2012 because of Tommy John surgery, lowered his earned-run average from 5.79 to 1.96. … Closer Ernesto Frieri began Tuesday having retired 10 straight batters, seven by strikeout, in his last four games. … Through Monday night, Angels relievers had stranded 20 of 22 inherited baserunners in June. … Ryan Madson, who is yet to pitch for the Angels after suffering several setbacks in his return from Tommy John surgery, could resume throwing off a mound by early next week.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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