Holliday joins Home Run Derby field
Colorado slugger replaces Marlins' Miguel Cabrera
As of early this morning, Colorado's Matt Holliday thought he was coming to the All-Star festivities on Monday to speak to the media, take it easy and then be a spectator during the Home Run Derby.
Low and behold, he is a participant after being asked on Monday morning to take part in it, and he answered with a very quick yes.
"I was excited," Holliday said of being asked. "This is something as a kid that you dream of. It makes today much more exciting."
The field for the 2007 Home Run Derby has been rounded out as Holliday will be the eighth and final participant.
Holliday will be replacing Florida's Miguel Cabrera, who dropped out on Sunday with a jammed shoulder.
This is the 27-year old outfielder's second All-Star Game selection, and it will be the first time he has taken part in the Home Run Derby.
Holliday is batting .341 for the Rockies, with 15 home runs and 41 RBIs. He is second in the National League and fourth in the Major Leagues in batting average.
Some might worry that taking part in an event in which you are trying to hit home runs might mess up the swing they have worked so hard to perfect, but Holliday is not worried about that.
"I don't think it will change my swing," Holliday said. Then kiddingly, he said: "My swing is what it is. I've practiced it a million times. If I can screw it up with 20 or 40 swings, then maybe it wasn't that good to begin with.
"I'll go out there and do what I do. I'll just go out there and square it up and hit it," he added.
Holliday might have another advantage, playing in a park that he plays in more than any of the other participants.
The Rockies face the San Francisco Giants 19 times a year, with nine or 10 of those games per season played at AT&T Park.
"I like hitting here," Holliday said. "I feel comfortable in the batter's box and that helps a lot."
Holliday won't be able to hit any balls into McCovey Cove, saying that it wouldn't be conducive for him to try and go opposite field and try to win the contest, but if he had a big lead he might be willing to try it.
"I've hit some opposite field here, but I am not sure that would be the best way to win this contest," Holliday said. "If I have a big lead, I'll take a shot at it."
He went on to say that a big lead is unlikely, but he's not counting himself out.
"If you've got big odds, I'm a decent bet," he joked.
The Derby is set to begin at 6 MT (8 ET) tonight and Holliday will be joined by last year's champion Ryan Howard of Philadelphia, Prince Fielder of Milwaukee and Albert Pujols of St. Louis to round out the NL participants.
Justin Morneau of the Twins, Alex Rios of Toronto, Vladimir Guerrero of the Angels and Detroit's Magglio Ordonez round out the AL.
Matt Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.