Share This Page

McCutchen not worried that HR Derby will affect Alvarez

| Friday, July 12, 2013, 7:51 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates fan Demitrius Thorn holds a sign intended for Mets third baseman David Wright during Wright's first at-bat Friday, July 12, 2013, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez rounds the bases past Mets third baseman David Wright after hitting a two-run home run during the first inning Friday, July 12, 2013, at PNC Park.

Every year before the Home Run Derby there are suggestions, concerns and debates regarding whether participating in the sluggers showcase can harm a batter's swing in the second half of the season.

Andrew McCutchen doesn't buy any of it — especially when the concerns pertain to teammate Pedro Alvarez. The Pirates' third baseman replaced Carlos Gonzalez on the National League Derby roster Thursday.

“It's bogus is the way I look at it,” said McCutchen, who hit 18 home runs before participating in the Derby in 2012 and 13 after the break. “It has nothing to do with it just because you're hitting a few home runs. We're doing it in BP every single day. When we take batting practice we work on line drives and stuff, but we have rounds where all we're trying to do is hit home runs. Pedro hits home runs. That's what he does, so it's not going to mess his swing up at all. It's going out there and doing something that he knows how to do.”

Detroit's Torii Hunter recently said that it took him two to three weeks to rebound mentally from his 2002 Derby experience. Alex Rodriguez, a three-time Derby participant, skipped the 2008 event at Yankee Stadium because he said it damaged his swing. Then there are the statistics belonging to Bobby Abreu and this year's NL captain David Wright that so often are pointed to as evidence that the Derby can have an adverse effect on second-half performance.

Abreu had 18 home runs going into the 2005 Derby. He homered 24 times in the first round alone then went 19 games without a home run and hit just six in the second half. Wright's home runs dropped from 20 in the first half to six in 2006.

However, it turns out even Wright doesn't believe the Derby is a swing killer.

“I did it (at PNC Park in 2006), and I felt like I had a good second half,” Wright said Friday. “Different people have different theories. Maybe some people feel like it does, but I don't.”

Wright did admit that the pressure of the Derby is unique. In some ways it's like batting practice. But the cage isn't there, for one, and, unlike batting practice, players are going 100 percent on every swing. Also, as McCutchen knows, there is the undeniable realization that it is the only sporting event happening in the country, and all eyes are on you.

“In this thing, there's one goal: hit the ball as far as you can,” Wright said. “You get winded and a little achy because you're not used to (using) that amount of force that many times. Then you look at there are cameras coming out of the ground, there's no cage over you, there's 40,000 people staring at you. It's nerve-wracking, no question.”

Alvarez said Thursday that he's excited and ready to go have fun with it.

“I mean, it's just like BP, right? I guess? I've never done it before,” he said. “The best piece of advice I've heard is not to do anything different.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at kprice@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.