Former champion Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez will represent the National League in the All-Star home run derby next week.
The four sluggers are the N.L.’s first basemen for the game July 14 at St. Louis. The home run derby will be held Monday night at Busch Stadium.
Pujols leads the majors with 31 home runs for the Cardinals. Howard won the 2006 All-Star home run derby in Pittsburgh.
Letters removed from baseball auction
A trove of letters to one of baseball’s founding fathers has been removed from an upcoming auction while the FBI investigates whether they were among items stolen from the New York Public Library years ago.
The letters are 19th century correspondence to Harry Wright, who built the country’s first professional baseball team in Cincinnati and went on to manage in several cities.
Sports memorabilia dealer Hunt Auctions had stopped bidding on the letters last week. On Monday, it said in a statement that it was removing the items from the auction outright because “many questions still remain unanswered.”
Ibanez 0 for 2 in first rehab start
All-Star left fielder Raul Ibanez moved closer to returning to the Philadelphia Phillies, going hitless in two at-bats in his first rehab start with Double-A Reading.
Ibanez, who has been sidelined with a strained left groin since June 18, didn’t get any chances in five innings in the field. He had no problems running the bases after reaching on a walk and scored a run.
Clearing the bases
Randy Johnson is expected to miss at least two starts as he recovers from a strained shoulder. The Giants placed the left-hander on the 15-day disabled list after he hurt himself on a swing Sunday. … The Tigers are giving their rookie right-hander a rest. Rick Porcello will have his next turn in the rotation skipped and manager Jim Leyland insisted his last two starts did not factor in the decision. … The Royals are hoping Ryan Freel can provide the speed and versatility that they’ve been missing. Kansas City acquired the utilityman from the Cubs for a player to be named. Freel, 33, has started at five positions in his career, playing the infield and outfield, and has a career .355 on-base percentage with 143 stolen bases.
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