Hamilton Says No to HR Derby - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Hamilton Says No to HR Derby



    Take yourself back to that July evening in 2008 when Josh Hamilton had his national coming out party on the biggest stage the game of baseball had to offer — the old, historic Yankee Stadium.

    In his first season with the Texas Rangers, Hamilton was playing in his first all-star game and took the baseball world by storm when he not only participated in the Home Run Derby the night before the game, but he owned it.

    Hamilton hit 28 home runs, in the first round. That is not supposed to happen, and nothing like it has happened since. He ended up not even winning the thing as he clearly wore himself out putting on a show for the fans during the first round, when Yankee Stadium had chants of "Ham-il-ton" resounding through its hallowed walls.

    And some speculated that he wore himself out for the reaminder of the season as his hot start, similar to this year's in which he was named AL Player of the Month for April and May, dwindle over the second half.

    It's for that reason that Hamilton has declined to participate in this year's contest in Kansas City after MLB asked him to be a team captain for the event.

    "It's just not the right time," Hamilton said. "I haven't done it in the last couple years. I want to be healthy and be the best I can be for the team. I don't want to take a chance of going out and hurting anything trying to entertain folks in the [Home Run Derby]. That's why I declined again."

    Then Hamilton, who is off to an astronomical start over the first two months of the season, talked about how he owes it to the Rangers to do his best to stay healthy, a complete 180-degree turn from his stance prior to the season when he said he didn't owe the Rangers anything.

    "No, it didn't hurt in 2008, but it takes one swing [to get hurt]," Hamilton said. "You've got to be smart about it. I understand that I play Major League Baseball, but I work for the Texas Rangers. I understand they need me healthy and I want to be healthy."