Cubs’ Carlos Pena ready for Home Run Derby if invited
By Gordon Wittenmyer email@example.com July 4, 2011 8:20PM
Updated: July 6, 2011 12:57PM
WASHINGTON — With a week to go before the All-Star Game, the Cubs might have an outside chance of getting one or two more participants in the festivities in Phoenix.
Shortstop Starlin Castro already is in as a reserve, along with manager Mike Quade as a coach. And top setup man Sean Marshall is on a short list of possible replacements if the National League is forced to drop a pitcher for injury or schedule reasons.
‘‘There’s always hope,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘But we’re just going to work on the games this week and try and have some good innings and finish the first half of the season on a good note.’’
But another Cubs player might have as good a chance as Marshall at getting a late trip to Phoenix: first baseman Carlos Pena.
Pena didn’t hit a home run in April, but he led the majors with 10 in June and has 17 for the season. And if Milwaukee Brewers slugger Prince Fielder, the captain of the NL’s Home Run Derby team, needs a slugger to round out his squad, Pena sounds more than willing to listen.
Unlike teammate Alfonso Sori-
ano, who has declined such invitations in the past because of concerns about fatigue and what it might do to his swing, Pena participated in 2009 and said it was a good experience.
‘‘I had a lot of fun,’’ he said. ‘‘I had a blast.’’
Pena said he hasn’t heard from Fielder and has received no indication he will be invited. But the format this year makes non-All-Stars eligible for the Derby, provided they are picked by a captain.
For the record, Soriano — who led the NL in homers until missing the first two weeks of June with a quadriceps injury — said he will
decline again if he’s asked.