David Ortiz will be batting seventh in the lineup of eight Home Run Derby participants, four from each league, tonight at PNC Park. The order: 1, Miggy Tejada, Orioles, 2, Lance Berkman, Astros, 3, Miguel Cabrera, Marlins, 4, Troy Glaus, Blue Jays, 5, David Wright, Mets, 6, Jermaine Dye, White Sox, 7, Ortiz, 8, Ryan Howard, Phillies.
Each player gets 10 outs per at-bat to hit as many home runs as possible. The four players with the most home runs, regardless of league affiliation, advance to the second round, and the survivors are seeded 1-4 by the number of HRs they hit in Round 1. So it's 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3, 10 outs, most HRs as possible. The two semifinal winners square off in the final round. One who hits most in that round (NOT cumulative total) wins.
It's considered an out if a player swings and does not hit a home run. Liner foul, swing and a miss, fly ball to center, all are outs. A home run has to clear the fence.
Hard to believe, but in Ortiz's first home run derby, in 2004 in Minute Maid Park in Houston, he hit just three home runs and was done after one round. Last year in Detroit, Ortiz put on a show, hitting 17 home runs in the first round, but that eye-popping performance was trumped by eventual winner Bobby Abreu, who hit a ridiculous 24 home runs in Round 1 and finished with a record 41 for the three rounds. Ortiz managed just three in the second round and was eliminated.
Since Abreu's demonstration of shock and awe, the Phillies' outfielder has hit just 14 home runs in 158 games, and some have speculated that the derby messed up his swing.
Could the same happen to Papi? Ortiz snorted in response.
"This is my point about Abreu,'' Ortiz said. "He's very mechanical in hitting, you know what I mean? You watch Abreu's swing, it's not like a home run-type swing. He's a line drive hitter. So he got into doing just one thing last year, he went out of his routine. Home run derby swing, that's how I swing every day, you know what I mean? Abreu, he went from his normal swing to a power swing. If you do that, you can be affected. But I don't think it will affect me. I swing out of my butt all the time.''