Encarnacion told teammate Jose Bautista, who is the captain of the AL Derby squad, that he "doesn't want to do it." Part of Encarnacion's reasoning for declining apparently has to do with his position in the All-Star voting. The 31-year-old first baseman/designated hitter is currently in fourth place among AL DHs in fan balloting.
"I'm surprised still that the fans haven't come out and supported him better," Bautista told Davidi. "But you can't control that as much as you can control a manager picking a player."
"[It] would be an extreme mistake on part of the manager (John Farrell) if he doesn't pick him," Bautista added. "How could you not pick the guy who is leading the league in home runs and RBIs?"
The hand-wringing by Bautista is probably premature, but he has a point. Encarnacion has 24 home runs, which was tied for the MLB lead entering Thursday, and is hitting .278/.363/.595. It's hard to imagine him not winding up on the team, especially since he's on pace to put up better numbers the first half of this year than he did before the break in 2013 -- a year in which Encarnacion earned his first All-Star selection.
Regardless of whether Encarnacion makes the All-Star team, not participating in the Home Run Derby might not be the worst thing for him. Pull hitters are the most likely candidates to be affected by a post-derby swoon, according to Beyond the Box Score's Ryan P. Morrison, and Encarnacion certainly qualifies, if his spray charts are any indication.
Darvish could miss third consecutive All-Star Game
After being selected to the last two Midsummer Classics but not being able to pitch in the actual games, Darvish is scheduled to pitch the Sunday before the 2014 installment of the contest, which would render him unable to participate for the third consecutive season if he ends up being selected to the team.
"I think I'm going to go sight-seeing," Darvish told Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News through an interpreter.
Darvish owns a 2.62 ERA with 118 strikeouts and 36 walks 96⅓ innings spanning 14 starts.