MINNEAPOLIS -- Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder will swing for the fences in another State Farm Home Run Derby, and this time he will select three National Leaguers to swing along with him. Fielder and Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz were named captains for the popular annual event, part of All-Star Game festivities at Chase Field in Phoenix. Fielder won it in 2009 in St. Louis; Ortiz won last summer in Anaheim. Under a new format this season, each man will assemble a team of four sluggers to compete in a National League vs. American League showdown. According to a Brewers spokesperson, Fielder is not just an honorary captain. He will actually pick his team, and All-Star Game hopefuls Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun both said that they had already chatted with Fielder about it.
Braun was considering the invitation but worried about pushing his sore left shoulder, which has bothered him for two months and has just recently started feeling strong. But how could Weeks say no? He is the godfather of both of Fielder's young sons. "I have no problem doing it if Prince asks me," Weeks said. "We [play Home Run Derby] a lot in Spring Training. It would be real cool to have a couple of guys from the team doing it." Asked about his approach to the event, Weeks said, "Just get in the batting cage and hit the ball out of the park, that's all." Braun participated in the '08 Derby in New York and is on the fence about this year's event. His eyes did grow wide with one idea -- since Derby participants do not have to be All-Stars, Fielder could simply invite teammates Braun, Weeks and right fielder Corey Hart for an all-Milwaukee field. "We talked about it, but, honestly, I'm just starting to get healthy for the first time, so I don't know," Braun said. "It would be fun, though. I had a good time in '08. We don't get a lot of down time, and it's a fine line between competing, wanting to enjoy the experience and letting your body recover a little bit. "I think it's amazing that [Fielder] gets to pick the team. Ultimately, if Rickie or I want to do it, it's up to us, basically." Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said that he worried about the Home Run Derby affecting a player's swing, and named Braun and Weeks as two particular hitters that he could see getting out of whack. The winning captain will get $150,000 for the charity of his choice, and the losing captain gets $25,000. And another $100,000 will go to the Boys & Girls Club of America in the name of the winning captain. On top of that, State Farm and Major League Baseball will combine to donate $18,000 for every home run hit with a Gold Ball during the competition. State Farm will also give $3,000 to BGCA for every non-Gold Ball hit during the Derby.