Before the 2010 All Star Game Home Run Derby gets underway, each All-Star is available on Monday for about an hour. The players are asked wide-ranging questions from hundreds of media members covering the event. Here's a sample from the American League session:
"It's important to me to be around so many great players. It's an honor to be here and to be recognized for all the hard work that you put into the game."
-- Victor Martinez, Red Sox catcher, on being recognized as an All-Star.
"Looking around and seeing everything so far has been pretty incredible. It is pretty amazing to see how Ichiro gets swarmed."
-- Athletics starting pitcher Trevor Cahill on the mass media scene in front of him.
"Ha. Maybe Jim Carrey."
-- Justin Verlander, Tigers starting pitcher, on who would play him if they made a movie about his life.
"I was, but I am not anymore. Some people might have called it a fluke after the first 10 games or so, but now we have gone 50 games with the guys playing important roles for us, and that is pretty amazing. The guys who have come up have hit their stride, and they haven't slowed down yet."
-- Jon Lester, on whether he's surprised the Red Sox have been able to compete at a high level despite a number of key injuries.
"It was my choice because we're in the middle of things. I'm not worried about [messing up] my swing, but I've seen stranger things happen. I could pull a back muscle or something like that, and I'm out for a few weeks. I don't want to do that to the team or to our organization. We've worked hard to get into this position to win."
-- Josh Hamilton, Rangers outfielder, on not participating in this year's Home Run Derby.
"It's because you've never done it before. You might do it some during the offseason but here you will have tens of millions of people watching you. That is nerve-wracking. But I'm interested to see how far I can hit the ball."
-- Nick Swisher on the difficulty of hitting in the Home Run Derby without a batting practice cage behind you.
"I like it. I like it a lot. The facility, Target Field, makes us feel like we are in the big leagues."
-- Joe Mauer, on the Twins' new home, Target Field.
"There was no doubt in my mind that a bunch of Rays would get picked to be in the game. Last year there were a bunch chosen, and it is a very talented organization with very talented players."
--Ty Wiggington, Orioles infielder, on the success of his former team, the Rays, who have four players in this year's All-Star Game.
"My strategy is to let the other guys get tired faster."
-- David Ortiz, on his strategy for the Home Run Derby.
"Scared? No. It is fun to pitch against the game's best players."
-- Fausto Carmona, Indians starting pitcher, on whether he's scared to face a particular NL hitter, such as Albert Pujols.
Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.