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Dodgers' Yasiel Puig to take part in home run derby

Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig will take part in the MLB All-Star home run derby

America, get ready for theatrics: Yasiel Puig is in the home run derby.

Puig said Tuesday he has accepted a derby invitation from National League captain Troy Tulowitzki.

"I'm very thankful," Puig said through an interpreter.

Although some players worry that participating in the derby can alter their swing and hurt their statistics in the second half, Puig said he is not concerned.

"Mine started to go down already," he said, laughing.

Indeed, Puig has one home run since May 28, a span of 140 at-bats. His 12 home runs tie him for 26th in the NL.

That, too, does not concern him.

"If I were hitting home runs every day, the pitchers weren't doing their job," Puig said.

Giancarlo Stanton, who leads the NL with 21 home runs, will join Puig, Tulowitzki and Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds on the NL squad. The American League team includes captain Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays, defending derby champion Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics, Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles and Brian Dozier of the Minnesota Twins, the host team for the All-Star Game.

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said he does not believe participating in the derby puts a hitter at risk for subpar performance in the second half.

"I don't think it's that big of a thing, really," Mattingly said. "Watch batting practice every day. The guys are launching balls all the time. I don't think it's that big of a difference."

No Dodgers player has ever won the derby. The last one to participate — Matt Kemp in 2012 — hit one home run.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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