Pujols headlines All-Star festivities
MLB reports slugger will take part in Derby, 'Call Your Shot'
CHICAGO -- Major League Baseball announced on Thursday that its best hitter will be participating in one of the game's most popular events. Albert Pujols himself isn't quite so certain.
According to a release from MLB, the Cardinals superstar will take part in the annual State Farm Home Run Derby on July 13 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. It would be Pujols' third appearance in the Derby. However, Pujols told reporters after his team's win over the Cubs on Thursday that it was news to him.
"I don't know anything about that," Pujols said. "I know they're using my picture in everything to promote the All-Star Game, but I've never heard that. When is the All-Star Game? Six months from now. If I'm not healthy with my elbow, I'm not doing it."
Pujols has participated in the Derby twice. In 2003, he made it all the way to the finals before falling to the Angels' Garret Anderson. He made it to the second round of the Derby in 2007 in San Francisco. On Thursday, he certainly sounded like he was open to a third appearance. But he gave no indication that it was a done deal as far as he was concerned.
"I wouldn't mind doing it, but I think I need to make the [All-Star team] first," he said. "If I'm not on the team, I'm not going to be able to do it."
The remainder of the Derby lineup is unlikely to be announced until shortly before All-Star festivities begin. But securing Pujols, one of the game's biggest stars, to participate in St. Louis would be a major coup.
Additionally, the league also announced that Pujols will participate in the "Call Your Shot" promotion. In it, a fan points to a spot in the stands and Pujols attempts to hit a batting practice home run to that area. If he is successful, the fan wins a prize package.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.