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Indians' Ramirez declines Home Run Derby invite

By PAUL HOYNES • Jul 12, 2018 at 7:00 AM

CLEVELAND — Jose Ramirez said he will not compete in the Home Run Derby on Monday night at the All-Star Game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

But that has not stopped the Indians All-Star third baseman from staging a Home Rub Derby with teammate Francisco Lindor. Ramirez hit his 26th and 27th homers in Wednesday night's 19-4 victory over the Reds at Progressive Field. Lindor, countered with No. 25.

Lindor said during the Indians last trip that he would not compete in the Home Run Derby.

"I'm not a home run hitter," Lindor said. "I don't hit home runs in batting practice. When I think of the Home Run Derby, I think of guys like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire — not Francisco Lindor."

Ramirez, earlier in the season, seemed excited about the prospect of participating in the Home Run Derby.

But Wednesday night he told reporters, through interpreter Will Clements, "I sat down with the team and we made a decision, all of us together, that it wasn't the best thing for me to do at this time."

When asked why it wasn't a good idea, Ramirez said, "It's really a long season. I'm a player that plays every day. And I need to save energy for the second half, and God willing, the postseason."

Manager Terry Francona said they told Ramirez he could participate if he wanted.

"We told him that he had our blessing if he wanted to do it," Francona said. "Just watching him, I think he had good reasons for not (doing it) and I'm glad. But if he had wanted to he would have had our blessing."

Here are the eight players who will participate in Monday's Home Run Derby at Nationals Park:

— No. 1 seed Jesus Aguilar, Brewers, vs. No. 8 see Rhys Hoskins, Phillies.

— No. 2 seed Bryce Harper, Nationals, vs. No. 7 seed Freddie Freeman, Braves.

— No. 3 seed Max Muncy, Dodgers, vs. No. 6 seed Javier Baez, Cubs.

— No. 4 seed Alex Bregman Astros vs. No. 5 seed Kyle Schwarber, Cubs.

Ramirez and Lindor have hit more homers than any of the Home Run Derby participant. The closest competition comes from Aguilar.

The former Indians' first baseman and DH has 23 homers for Milwaukee. Aguilar and Seattle's Jean Segura were the last players added to their respective All-Star teams on Wednesday by a vote of the fans.

"That's awesome," said Lindor, when he heard the news about Aguilar. "It's a dream for him and a dream for his family. There's going to be three guys that played together in the minor leagues in the All-Star Game. We all played together in Akron. It says a lot. It's special."

When asked if the Indians told him not to participate in the Home Run Derby, Ramirez said, "We all made the decision together. We all made the same decision."

Ramirez, who hit a two-run homer in the first and a three-run homer in the third, is hitting .293 (101-for-345) with 26 doubles, 27 homers and 65 RBI. He has a .609 slugging percentage and a 1.001 OPS.

He ranks second in the AL in homers through Wednesday, trailing Boston's J.D. Martinez who has 28.

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