SAN FRANCISCO -– A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson was added to the Home Run Derby roster, joining teammate Yoenis Cespedes on the American League’s five-man squad.
Donaldson received a text from A.L. captain Jose Bautista on Thursday morning, extending an invite, which Donaldson enthusiastically accepted.
It will be quite an experience for Donaldson, who is also Oakland’s first fan-elected starter in the All-Star Game since Jason Giambi back in 2000.
“For me, it adds icing to the cake,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll go out there and put on a show.”
Donaldson may not be thought of as one of the majors’ grip-it-and-rip-it sluggers like Cespedes, who stole the show in winning last year’s Derby. But coincidentally or not, Donaldson drove a two-run homer to right field in Thursday’s 6-1 victory over the Giants.
It’s rare for right-handed hitters to show that kind of opposite field power at AT&T Park, and the blast happened to be Donaldson’s team-high 20th homer of the season. That’s tied for fifth-most in the A.L. Moss is second on the A’s with 19 homers and Cespedes has 14.
Both A’s manager Bob Melvin and general manager Billy Beane had expressed mild concern over Cespedes perhaps risking injury in the Derby. But Melvin also understands why both would want to participate.
“Just another thing to worry about,” Melvin said through a smile. “But you gotta put yourself in their shoes too. It could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Cespedes will have A’s third base coach Mike Gallego pitch to him, as he did last season. Donaldson is taking A’s bullpen coach Darren Bush.
“He was my first manager when I got traded over” from the Cubs in 2008, Donaldson said. “I had him at High A, Double A and Triple-A. Now he’s up in the big leagues with us the past couple years. I remember hitting off him back the in minor leagues. We’ve had a lot of battles together.”