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Robinson Cano wins the home run derby

July 11, 2011 |  8:35 pm


Apparently Robinson Cano didn’t get the memo.

While the Yankees as an organization treat the All-Star game with a level of disdain worthy of their feelings for the World Baseball Classic, the 28-year-old New York second baseman entertained fans and peers alike. He bested some of baseball’s biggest sluggers to win the home run derby on Monday night before 44,820 at Chase Field.

The left-handed-hitting Cano swung easy and hit hard, line drives as well as arching moon shots into the right-field seats, and on a few occasions over the right-field seats. He beat the Red Sox’s Adrian Gonzalez, 12-11, in the final round, hitting last and leaving himself four bad swings to spare. 

Homerderby3_325 Cano got an assist from his father, former Houston Astros pitcher Jose Cano, who threw batting practice pitches to him, just as he once did on fields in the Dominican Republic. These produced a lot more noise, although you'd have to say the elder Cano got a lot out of the time he spent with his son long ago. 

"The best thing is not my swing,'' Cano said. “It was the man who threw BP, my dad. He’s the one who knows me best, the one I talk to every day on the phone after games. … He’s one of the best fathers."

For the first time, MLB appointed captains who got to fill out the four-slugger rosters from their leagues.

Prince Fielder, in charge of the National League team, appointed Milwaukee teammate Rickie Weeks and heard about it from the crowd, which wanted the Diamondbacks’ Justin Upton in the contest. When Weeks turned in an unimpressive round –- he swung and missed the first pitch and never seemed comfortable –- the crowd chanted "Justin Upton" and “We want Upton."

Fielder had been lightly booed when he took batting practice during the afternoon workout but got blasted when he stepped to the plate.

Gonzalez led the first round with nine homers, followed by Cano with eight. There was a three-way tie for third, with Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday, Fielder and Ortiz each hitting five. Fielder and Ortiz advanced into the semifinals in a five-swing playoff.

Fielder homered with all five swings in that mini-round, including a blast to right-center that hit above a restaurant beyond the swimming pool and outfield concourse. The crowd cheered Fielder as he triumphantly walked away from the plate.

Cano hit 12 in the semifinal round, one more than Gonzalez (who hit homers on 10 of 11 swings at one point). That tied them at 20 as they advanced past the captains, who had four homers apiece.


Photos: 2011 home run derby

It's time to put the fun back in the All-Star game

Dodgers' Andre Ethier, Angels' Howie Kendrick glad to be home again

--Phil Rogers

Photos: (Top) Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano connects for a home run in the derby on Monday night. (Bottom) He accepts the winner's trophy with parents Jose and Mercedes Cano. Photos by Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press and Christian Petersen/Getty Images