There will be a new champion crowned at the home run derby this year.
Minnesota Twins slugger Justin Morneau said he has declined an invitation to participate in the popular All-Star Game event, which will be held Monday in St. Louis.
Morneau said he wants to rest and would prefer to watch.
Morneau won last year’s competition at Yankee Stadium, but that was overshadowed by Josh Hamilton’s record 28 homers in the first round. The Texas Rangers’ outfielder tired as the event dragged on and Morneau outlasted him 5-3 in the finals.
Hamilton isn’t going to participate, either, at the request of his manager.
WADA urges tougher policy for MLB
The president of the World Anti-Doping Agency urged Major League Baseball to adopt its code, which includes a two-year suspension for an athlete’s first positive test.
MLB and the players’ association have toughened their drug rules three times since their initial agreement in August 2002, and MLB executive vice president for labor relations Rob Manfred quickly dismissed criticism by WADA president John Fahey, calling him “sadly misinformed.” The current policy calls for 50-game suspensions for first offenses, 100-game penalties for second offenses and lifetime bans for third violations.
Clearing the bases
Former New York Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra has sought bankruptcy protection in Los Angeles, citing more than $31 million in debts. … All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez is still sidelined for Florida. Ramirez is scheduled to start for the National League in next week’s All-Star game in St. Louis, but he missed his fourth straight game with a strained right hip flexor. … The Chicago White Sox agreed to terms on a minor league contract with first-round pick Jared Mitchell. The outfielder led LSU to the College World Series title last month. … Toronto released one-time closer B.J. Ryan and activated current closer Scott Downs from the 15-day disabled list. … Former top draft pick Matt Bush pleaded not guilty to drunken driving, resisting arrest and vandalism for an incident last month in which he backed into a parked car in Mission Valley, Calif. San Diego drafted Bush with the first pick in 2004 and traded him to Toronto in February, after he allegedly assaulted members of a high school lacrosse team. … Michael Weiner was approved unanimously by the MLB Players Association executive board to succeed Donald Fehr as the union’s head.
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