Michael Cuddyer wasn't even supposed to be here. That made him a dangerous contestant in the All-Star Game home run derby Monday night. A controversial selection because of his modest power numbers, Cuddyer validated National League captain David Wright's choice by finishing third in the derby with 15 home runs at Citi Field.
"There was no pressure on me. Nobody wanted me to do this thing anyway," said Cuddyer, alluding to the criticism leveled by fans from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Cincinnati, among other cities. "I told David I appreciated it. I knew he took a lot of heat for putting me in. I couldn't wait to do it."
Cuddyer, a childhood friend of Wright's, didn't provide the tape-measure shots, but rather a consistent show of power. It was just like watching one of his BP sessions during the season. It wasn't enough to knock off Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes, the only competitor who was not an all-star, or Washington's Bryce Harper, who reached the finals by hitting home runs off his father, Ron. Cespedes hit 32 in the derby, including nine in the finals, to eclipse Harper. Cespedes averaged 455 feet in the championship round, compared with Harper's 447.
However, Cuddyer provided one of the Rockies' best Home Run Derby performances, similar to Matt Holliday's semifinal effort in 2007 in San Francisco won by Vladimir Guerrero.
"It was awesome," Cuddyer told The Post. "But I am beat." Cespedes featured a Rockies' connection. Former Colorado third-base coach Mike Gallego threw to him. Tom Runnells, the Rockies' bench coach, returned for his second straight season in the derby and provided beach balls for Cuddyer.
Read more:Rockies' Cuddyer finishes third in Home Run Derby, won by Athletics' Cespedes - The Denver Posthttp://www.denverpost.com/rockies/ci_23666822/rockies-cuddyer-finishes-third-home-run-derby-won-by-athletics-cespedes#ixzz2ZAwX4tFQ